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Thread: New York City panel recommends ending gifted programs for students

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    New York City panel recommends ending gifted programs for students

    De Blasio says he hasn't had time to study the report yet. This is from The Hill:
    A panel appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has proposed doing away with "gifted and talented" programs in an effort to desegregate the nation's largest public school system.

    New York schools geared toward students given the gifted and talented label are filled mostly with white and Asian children, while the rest of the public school system is predominantly black and Hispanic, the report released Tuesday states.

    "Extensive evidence in this report suggests the existing use of screens and Gifted and Talented programs is unfair, unjust and not necessarily research-based," the panel of education and diversity experts appointed by de Blasio wrote. "As a result, these programs segregate students by race, class, abilities and language and perpetuate stereotypes about student potential and achievement."

    The report recommends replacing the gifted and talented screening system with "pro-integrative programs used in many school districts across the country to affirmatively attract students of all backgrounds and make sure that all students are challenged."

    The proposed plan would include all elementary school gifted programs, screened middle schools and some high schools, though The New York Times noted that the plan does not have jurisdiction over eight elite high schools in the city.

    The report states that "as we move away from unjust Gifted and Talented programs and school screens, it is imperative to resource the creation and development of new research-based programs that serve all children."

    De Blasio, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination and has focused on addressing inequality as mayor of New York City, has the authority to adopt some or all of the proposals in the report without input from the State Legislature or City Council.

    Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, he said he still had to evaluate the report, noting that it was just released.

    The Hill has reached out to de Blasio's office about how it plans to handle the recommendations.
    Here's the report itself:

    Making the Grade II: New Programs for Better Schools
    From page 7:
    [A]s we move away from unjust Gifted and Talented programs and school screens, it is imperative to resource the creation and development of new research-based programs that serve all children; recognizing that all children can learn, that learning together improves learning and that we have new models and opportunities to nurture, support, invest in and develop talent and motivation in all students, including those students whose talents and interests are often unrecognized and whose development has not received sufficient investment.

    We also want to ensure that the New York City public schools continue to attract students from across the socioeconomic spectrum. If New York City loses students to private schools or families move to other locations, it will become even more difficult to create high-quality integrated schools that serve the interests of all students.

    We believe our recommendations thread that needle in a bold and balanced way. We call for the resources necessary to support new models of effective and integrated learning based on interest and enrichment models, rather than arbitrary and often exclusionary admissions models. Exclusionary admissions models often unfairly sort students by their resources rather than interests and opportunities for developing their interests and abilities. They also miss the benefits of classrooms that are more diverse and allow more individualized education to students who are advanced learners.We recommend eliminating exclusionary screens, replacing those programs with pro-integrative programs used in many school districts across the country to affirmatively attract students of all backgrounds and make sure that all students are challenged.
    I know how this one ends. I've seen the slogans before.

    Apparently the well-known selective high schools in NYC are exempt from the tender mercies of this committee. But that doesn't end well either.

    The public school system I worked most of my career in was at one time a stand-out school for music, and the cabinets were filed with trophies and awards. Then in the late 70s or early 80s the School Board cut all music out of the elementary schools, and reduced the Middle School programs to scraps. But by golly the trophies kept coming!

    Until 1986. After than, zero. Zip. Nada. So after about five years they removed all the trophies from the display cases and put up motivational posters.
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    When I saw that Hazel Dukes was one of the co-chairs, I understood that this is a sop committee. Ms Dukes is 87 (I didn't know she was still around). It's another thing I've seen often enough before.
    “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff, explaining the Green New Deal for the hard of hearing.

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    What a shame. I happen to be the beneficiary of an outstanding public school district. We also have gifted programs as well as special support for those in need of it. The middle students were still well served, although certainly could fall between the cracks. In my current county there is a rather large school that is a tough school to be in. I believe they call the area as "in transition". The real problem is that this district is right next to West Philadelphia so there are a lot of people that either move just over the border to avoid the Philadelphia mess or they simply have an address "drop" and send their students there. The school and the general town has a lot of problems that would accompany such an urban area. However, it has an excellent system for special needs students. In fact, many of the "excellent" school districts pay to send their students there because the programs are that much better. In addition, the "gifted" students programs are also excellent. Again, those in the middle groups academically probably aren't getting a great education, but those at either end are. It would be a shame to get rid of the two ends of the spectrum such that everyone ended up with a somewhat crappy education. It's still better than most of those in Philly public schools are getting, though.
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    Dumb 'em down! Everybody to the lowest common denominator! All C's will now become A's! Oh, wait, nobody will get graded!
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    The main benefit to offering "gifted" programs is the pace and the classroom discussion. While some gifted programs can offer highly individualized instruction and independent (but still strictly graded) study, most of the time it is the tempo of the class that gets the job done.

    Fast and accurate students can easily cover two years or more of "standard" material in a single year. The real kiss of death for smart students is boredom. Not the entertain-me boredom that all students experience but the lack of hard challenge and spirited competition.

    Smart kids adore competition even if many are introverted and dislike overt public competition. They will do surprising amounts of extra work and very independent reading and practice to perfect a skill if it gives them an edge over the competition.

    Many, many studies over many, many decades have demonstrated that exposure to smart competitive students doesn't much improve the performance of average or poor students but exposure to the dull content and tedious pacing of average class can negatively impact smart competitive students. They just zone out since beating a poor student is like kissing your sister: both useless and kind of gross.

    If you want to improve the performance of average students you can do it but it involves a lot more forced repetition, memorization, and graded practice. This is how they do it in Asia and it's how we tutors bump kids up "dramatically".

    It won't turn an average student into a brilliant student who is self-motivated and hungry to know more or solve problems for fun but it will put wheels on a kid who has been crawling around in the dirt.

    Now, there is currently no way to implement that in an average or below average public school classroom due to many reasons but skin tone or economics aren't among them. We've previously educated non-white and very poor kids (both black and white) to levels that are superior to what we have today in skill and ready general knowledge so it can be done.
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    What an extremely stupid "solution." Maybe DeFalilio won't take it, but my guess is that he'll take this up along with going with steam engines to run the A train and the Lex line henceforth as a "solution" to his disastrous running of the city. Or maybe horse-drawn carriages replacing the Q line out of Astoria.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    De Blasio says he hasn't had time to study the report yet. This is from The Hill:

    Here's the report itself:

    Making the Grade II: New Programs for Better Schools
    From page 7:

    I know how this one ends. I've seen the slogans before.

    Apparently the well-known selective high schools in NYC are exempt from the tender mercies of this committee. But that doesn't end well either.

    The public school system I worked most of my career in was at one time a stand-out school for music, and the cabinets were filed with trophies and awards. Then in the late 70s or early 80s the School Board cut all music out of the elementary schools, and reduced the Middle School programs to scraps. But by golly the trophies kept coming!

    Until 1986. After than, zero. Zip. Nada. So after about five years they removed all the trophies from the display cases and put up motivational posters.
    The demographics are a red herring, for the most part. The schools I attended for the first 6 years of my schooling were all white. For an additional 3 years, through 9th grade, they might as well have been; they had been "desegregated*," but there were only 2 black kids in any of my academic classes. Both my parents and I, long before desegregation, would have been thrilled if our school system had offered a gifted and talented program. My fondest dream would have been to be allowed to read books for school that were challenging and interesting, to advance quickly in French, and to do real science. Even in "tracked" schools, the kids with academic and/or artistic talent were bored out of their gourds, and resented mightily by those who had to work to master the material. That's not about race or national origin; it's about the home environment and natural ability.

    *Translation: they closed the neighborhood schools in the black neighborhood and crammed us all into the formerly white school, because you can bet your bippy they weren't going to send white kids to the former "colored school."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    The demographics are a red herring, for the most part. The schools I attended for the first 6 years of my schooling were all white. For an additional 3 years, through 9th grade, they might as well have been; they had been "desegregated*," but there were only 2 black kids in any of my academic classes. Both my parents and I, long before desegregation, would have been thrilled if our school system had offered a gifted and talented program. My fondest dream would have been to be allowed to read books for school that were challenging and interesting, to advance quickly in French, and to do real science. Even in "tracked" schools, the kids with academic and/or artistic talent were bored out of their gourds, and resented mightily by those who had to work to master the material. That's not about race or national origin; it's about the home environment and natural ability.

    *Translation: they closed the neighborhood schools in the black neighborhood and crammed us all into the formerly white school, because you can bet your bippy they weren't going to send white kids to the former "colored school."
    Incidentally, the parents of the 2 black kids would've been thrilled with such a program, also. Pat W was one of the 3 or 4 smartest kids in the class, and studious as well. Terry F was only above-average academically but a gifted trumpet player and a hard worker. Both came from families in which hard work and achievement were expected. My parents knew and had great respect for Pat's father, Rev. W.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    The demographics are a red herring, for the most part. The schools I attended for the first 6 years of my schooling were all white. For an additional 3 years, through 9th grade, they might as well have been; they had been "desegregated*," but there were only 2 black kids in any of my academic classes. Both my parents and I, long before desegregation, would have been thrilled if our school system had offered a gifted and talented program. My fondest dream would have been to be allowed to read books for school that were challenging and interesting, to advance quickly in French, and to do real science. Even in "tracked" schools, the kids with academic and/or artistic talent were bored out of their gourds, and resented mightily by those who had to work to master the material. That's not about race or national origin; it's about the home environment and natural ability.

    *Translation: they closed the neighborhood schools in the black neighborhood and crammed us all into the formerly white school, because you can bet your bippy they weren't going to send white kids to the former "colored school."
    (That last paragraph was certainly true in my experience as well. )

    But dear CC, demographics (now) is everything. Disparate impact, we like to say.

    What has destroyed gifted programs is that its premise is no longer fashionable. Individual achievement is under assault.

    Truly exceptional students are solo artists. But the mindset of current pedagogy is all about teamwork, group projects, cooperation, "no child left behind," "all children can learn," and etc.

    Such a mindset abandons the 9-year old girl who idly solves integrals in her head in favor of a team that can work a grade or two ahead. Teachers, I'm embarrassed to say, are complicit in this betrayal of rare talent.

    The exception I have seen is in some of the national science contests. Some districts search out teachers who appreciate and promote exceptional individual achievement (the un-PC idea) and buttress that individual with a supportive team.

    When soft-hearted egalitarianism rules the roost, mediocre outcomes is the best you can hope for. So why not scotch the whole program?
    Last edited by Newman; Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 at 10:58 PM.
    “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.” —Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff, explaining the Green New Deal for the hard of hearing.

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    It would be interesting to see what the criteria are for a student being placed in a Gifted and Talented program.

    The more I'm in the schools volunteering and talking to teachers, parents, friends and family, there seems to be a skyrocketing amount of children considered gifted and talented, our eight-year-old granddaughter being one of them. As her grandparent, of course, I think she is amazingly gifted and talented. But that doesn't always correspond to her good grades with me. She's also a very vivacious, outgoing and socially sweet little girl with wonderful art and singing skills...that's why she has been in musical theatre since age five. I don't always think that putting her in three classes away from her regular classroom has made her a happier child. Her best friend is on the spectrum and she frets over how she's doing without her to help guide her when she needs it. When I ask how she likes her classes she does always says she likes them. But she was born to be a student. When I asked her if there was anything she didn't like when she went to kindergarten (thinking I could talk her to a positive if there was), she said she didn't like it when the kids didn't pay attention to the teacher. I guess I just don't want what her lovely, unique little spirit to take second place or get lost chasing grades and yes, I know she can do both. I just worry about the push in schools today to learn for the grade before anything else.
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