De Blasio Panel Recommends Total Elimination of Gifted and Talented Programs

Most school systems have gifted and talented programs for students who are substantially advanced in courses and need more challenging material. The programs allow teachers on both levels to offer a more holistic curriculum and it also has served to keep advanced students in the public school system after years of “white flight.” The programs however have a majority of white and asian students. A panel appointed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has now come up with a recommendation to solve that de facto “segregation.” It wants to simply eliminate the gifted and talented program. Problem solved.

Rather than focus on working to identify and cultivate minority students, the panel prefers to achieve desegregation by eliminating the much valued G &T program. I have been a huge supporter of public schools my whole life. While my parents could afford private schools, they helped form a group to keep white families in the public school system in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s. They wanted their kids to be part of a diverse school environment.

I believe strongly that public education is a pillar of our democratic society. My wife and I sent all four of our children in the public schools. This proposal will only accelerate the departure of such families who will have to chose between private schools, with more challenging courses, or the New York Public Schools with its one-size-fits-all approach.

With 1.1 million students, the G &T programs allowed highly talented students to stay in the public schools and move on to top universities. It is a great benefit to have such students in the system. De Blasio’s panel however views the advanced programs as inequality and, rather than improving the scores overall, he prefers to chop off the top performing courses to achieve the appearance of equality. It is not. These students will be moved back into the general student body. Many are unlikely to get the attention or advanced work that they need to stay intellectually engaged.

The report reads more like a political than an academic document, declaring that gifted programs have “become proxies for separating students who can and should have opportunities to learn together.” For a teacher with a large class, “learning together” means that gifted students have to largely teach themselves or follow less demanding curriculums.

Two things are likely. First, these gifted students are likely to push the scores and ranking of other students down. Currently, students in the other programs can still excel and achieve high rankings in their classes in seeking college positions. They will now likely find themselves less competitive. Classes are likely to be dominated by gifted students with teachers struggling to keep both sets of students engaged. Second, many gifted students will simply leave and calls for vouchers will increase. This will achieve the desegregation interests of the panel by reducing the diversity of the system overall.

Finally, as educators, our mission is to educate. These children have different educational needs. Many students in the regular schools will emerge as leaders. Some simply bloom later. The way to cultivate those students is not to throw them into classes with gifted students but to create a curriculum that allows them to master foundational subjects. They can, and often do, excel. As for the gifted students, these students need to be engaged or they can become bored and disconnected from their classes. They are ready for more advanced word and, as educators, we have a duty to help them progress at their own pace. To put it simply, this proposal does more for the politicians like de Blasio than the actual students.

73 thoughts on “De Blasio Panel Recommends Total Elimination of Gifted and Talented Programs”

  1. Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed. – Joseph Stalin, dictator

    Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.
    – Joseph Stalin, dictator

    “Never let the slaves learn how to read.
    Keep ’em happy singing the same old songs.”
    – Massa de Blasio, Mayor, Democrat plantation manager, aspiring dictator

  2. Leftist want everyone dumb and subservient, how else will they be able to “Govern”.

  3. I am a parent of a gifted student. We live in Arizona. Sadly, the public schools here are ranked very low. As a single parent, I could never afford private school. My daughter went to the neighborhood public school, which ranked well for an AZ school. My daughter dreaded school. She was literally bored to tears daily. I’d have to drag her out the door each day to attend.
    Then in 3rd grade I discovered my district has an all gifted public school option. Every student is gifted and the teachers are specially trained to work with this population..She is now thriving academicly as well as socially. Many of these children dont relate to children who aren’t at their intellectual level. This can make them feel isolated and alone. Without this school, I feel certain that my child, would have been one of the many gifted children, that simply loose interest and drop out.
    The drop out rate for gifted childern is substantially higher than other students, if not properly engaged.
    Gifted programs are just as important as services for special needs children. One size does not fit all!

  4. Reduction in class size and more pay/incentives for public teachers.

    If the public school system would pay better, a living wage, I would stop pursing law right now and go teach HS English or Math.

    1. The mean annual cash salary of primary and secondary schoolteachers is $59,000 a year. The mean for the labor force as a whole is $52,000 per year. Schooteachers commonly receive handsome fringes atop that. Retirement programs are sufficiently generous that the median retirement age for schoolteachers – 59 – is four years younger than the median for the workforce as a whole. They also have the opportunity to moonlight and recuperate in the off season. Most people work about 240 days a year at their regular job; for schoolteachers, it’s 180 days.

      Fully 68% of the working population is ensconced in occupations where mean annual cash compensation is lower than that which prevails for schoolteachers. And those schoolteachers are living and working in just about the world’s most affluent country. If teachers aren’t receiving a ‘living wage’, why not explain to us your conception of what a ‘living wage’ is?

      1. Phone response, forgive the auto correct, it has a mind of its own, can be sneaky sometimes…

        The issue is that the ‘mean’ doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s tells no story at all…its just a number.

        So, each schoolteacher, respectively, makes ~59,000, and that’s on average, better than ~52,000 of the labor force.

        Not to be “mean,” no pun intended, but this doesn’t tell me much at all.

        So, delving further, and not going down the yellow brick road, a.k.a. the slippery slope, of retirement plans, and months off, etc., we can agree that a teacher in a suburban or rural area is making less than 59, and a city dweller is making more than 59.

        Okay, so assuming they rent, and don’t own homes, bc they can’t afford them, unless by the list of ways that perhaps they could afford a home, the rent in each areas so greatly, it could make or break an allegedly good salary.

        I.e., ~59,000 in LA, or NYC, and you most certainly will be living in a broken down slum lord owned shit hole with plumbing issues every other week, most likely will have roommates, and no savings.

        On the other hand, ~59,000 in suburbs of VA, let’s just say Richmond, VA, and you can afford a nice apartment, with no roommates, and perhaps, have some savings too.

        Now, of course, LA, I am guessing is around ~75,000…16,000 more is not going to get you much of a “leg up.” You will still be suffering…in your old miserable apt.

        And then, ~45,000/50,000 for Richmond, VA…

        I guess the moral of the story is be a teacher in Richmond, VA and not in Los Angeles, CA.

        And we are only talking rent here, not other life choices, e.g., spouse, children, etc.

        Or maybe the lesson of the story is, that if you want a quality of life, at a younger age in 2019, don’t live in a big city.

        1. This is a tangential discussion separate from whether to or not to eliminate gifted programs.

          Perhaps, the “rent is just too damn high.”

          I was always told, could be wrong, that rent should be 1/4th your income per month.

          I.e., 4000 monthly salary, 1,000 for the rent.

          In a city, you won’t find your own 1B/1B apartment for that much, not even a dumpy studio.

          Now, some ppl feel rent can be as high as 1/3rd of your monthly salary, but that seems a little high to me.

          I know, personally, a couple hs teachers, 2, and they are not in the city:

          (1) is in 30s and still lives with mom and dad, trying to save enough to get a down payment/mortgage; and

          (2) is in 30s, married a divorced, wealthy older man, in his 50s, and might not even be teaching anymore, but she moves into his new house, and is raising his children.

          But when I hear teachers spending their own salaries on school supplies, you start to wonder…what is going on here…both of which told me they spent their own money on school supplies for their students bc the school didn’t have it and couldn’t afford it (both are public school teachers).

          It’s not a very large pool, 2 ppl, but small insight.

          1. While we’re at it, the mean annual cash compensation for schoolteachers in New York State is $73,000 per year. The incomes of pre-school teachers and substitute teachers are included in that average. One should note that per capita income in New York State is about 15% above national means, while schoolteacher salaries are 24% above the national mean for schoolteachers. New York City schoolteachers aren’t hurting compared to other teachers or other residents of metropolitan New York.

            Still awaiting your definition of ‘living wage’.

            1. Since you want to focus on NYC, and that makes sense considering the article is about NY…

              Living wage in NYC should ostensibly be 75,000 per year for a single person….

              This works out to

              6,250 per month…39 per hour (pre-tax)…after tax it is going to be substantially less…

              I would be willing to go as low as 30 per hour to live in NYC but that’s pushing it….I would feel more comfortable with someone living on 35 per hour.

              Living wage, living is a relative term.

              What does living mean to you versus what does living mean to me….based on our life experiences, education, jobs, etc., we are all going to have different definition to the term living.

              For me…

              My definition of living wage:

              *after necessary expenses, rent, mortgage, food, clothes…your basics…

              * being able to contribute to savings and a 401k plan

              * being able to enjoy the city you live in 1-3 nights per week

              * being able to take a 1-2 week vacation every year

              Typically, living wage is used as a progandist trigger word to evoke emotions in politics…and has been used to mean whatever the market will bear….so I believe in city life they say 15 per hour….

              But 15 per hour in NYC, so you’re living in Brooklyn with 3 to 5 roommates, in a closer size room,

              And you have a pet rat named Pinky, who comes out of the wall to greet you when you get home from work…maybe eat some crumbs you left out…

              To me, that is not a living wage, as you can see from my personal definition…to me….that is just Surviving, and there is a big difference between living and surviving…

              I would never live in NYC for under 40 per hour, and that’s my personal choice

              I’m not sure why ppl live there and struggle with side hussles and are just miserable….you must like being around other ppl and the bubonic plague on the subway a lot to live there in survival mode, but again, that’s others life choice.

        2. I can explain something to you. I cannot comprehend it for you.

            1. Pretty sure I did not…nit sure what you’re alluding too, it seems like an implicit insult, regardless, I am enjoying this banter rather much. 😉

      2. I will concede to you that there is some incentives in retirement plans and summer time off.

        But this last paragraph about 68 % of the population has nothing to do with schoolteachers, the topic at hand, nor does living and working mean anything to me….

        Living and working bc one must/has to get paid, versus living WELL while working…well, as in comfortable, comfortable as in broad scope, with variations to be had….

        I do sense some sarcasm, I know “living wage” is one of those trigger words, gets the ppl going, but I’m not using it the exact same sense…but similar, but different…

      3. It’s a horrible job. I was assaulted every day on my teaching job back In the USA, sometimes in the genitals, and no one cares when it happens to a man. Men get stuck with the bad boys while the women teachers sit in the lounge and gossip about how horrible you are. I have worked in high schools where the head of the English Department was a woman with a kindi degree and I got stuck teaching the hoods with my MA in English Literature. These women typically call themselves “the bitch” and they say, “the buck stops here,” but the buck never stopped for them. The science teachers have English degrees (I am certified to teach science in Iowa and Oregon with my English and Spanish degrees.) I have seen women come back from Mexico and teach Spanish with no degree or competency in the language. American education is a joke.

    2. Maybe, but don’t presume teachers are the solution. I once overheard a conversation between two teachers in a social setting who shared the feeling that gifted kids can take care of themselves.

  5. De Blasio Panel Recommends Total Elimination of Gifted and Talented Programs

    Another case of the Harrison Bergeon effect where a simple minded politician and his cronies seek to make all NYC public school students equal by handicapping those students that excel for the benefit of those students that have fallen behind (for whatever reason).

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from the web site archive(dot)org from within a book titled Harrison Bergeon by Kurt Vonnegut –

    THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the
    211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

    Have the members of the De Blasio Panel been lobotomized? Or are they just simple minded dullards?

    The De Blasio Panel recommendations are a recipe for continued disaster in NYC’s public schools.

    NYC’s public schools have been failing the majority of students enrolled for generations.

    Following the not-so keen analytical advice proffered up by the dullards on the De Blasio Panel will result in even lower numbers of students graduating without having shown any proficiency in math or English.

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from NYT(dot)com found within a news report titled – City School Test Scores Inch Up, but Less Than Half of Students Pass

    About 46 percent of the city’s third through eighth graders passed the state math exam, a three percentage point increase from last year, and just over 47 percent of students passed the English exam, up about one point compared with last year.

  6. Another reason to get rid of public schools that seem bent on complete failure. Blasio being a prime public example of the dangers of social promotions.

  7. I read the NYT’s article. The reporter also focuses on race, just as De Blasio does. She wrote: “He risks alienating tens of thousands of mostly white and Asian families whose children are enrolled in the gifted programs and selective schools.” I find it interesting that she does not focus on, simply, the alienation of families whose children are enrolled in the TAG programs.

    The entire article overlooks issues outside of schools that underlie the concern: “The widely varying quality of the city’s neighborhood elementary schools, which have become increasingly segregated since the 1970s, is the public school system’s most intractable problem.”

    It is admirable that the schools keep trying to fix themselves, but there is a moving piece that has not been addressed: the family. What is going on with the families in the struggling schools? Might they be struggling? What can be done to help these families not struggle? What are their struggles–and, no, it does not boil down to racism. It’s complicated, and oversimplifying the matter is itself an injustice and disrespectful of the myriad of problems people face.

    I am actually torn regarding the TAG programs and schools. There does need to be a balance. Boiling it down to ‘the magic number’ for entrance is too narrow a focus. And, there is something to be said for having a certain degree of mixed abilities in a classroom. Kids at the border can rise to the challenges of their more gifted classmates. A high tide lifts all boats. However, too wide a disparity and no one is effectively educated, so making time for ability grouping makes sense.

    I am in agreement with Professor Turley that public schools are an important part of our communities and our representative democracy. They are a place where we should be able to interact with a wide range of diverse backgrounds and demographics; it should be a place of opportunity for the poorest of our communities to expand their horizons and to see what the world can offer (e.g., how else could they afford music or art lessons or play sports on a team?).

    I also have concerns about the test preparation for children as young as 4 to try to gain them entrance to the elite schools. From a child development standpoint, I think it unwise. And, from an educational perspective, does it mean that the ‘regular’ public schools need to step up their game? Or, is everyone painfully anxiety-ridden that they aren’t ‘doing school right’? Does it really have to be as high-stakes as it has become?

    The report, focused on ‘equity’ says “sorting students according to academic ability ‘is not equitable, even if it is effective for some.'” How is it equitable to notably disadvantage some students just to make them ‘equal’ somehow to those who are not as Talented and Gifted? It is easier, apparently, than trying to address the really challenging problems affecting students and their families at home.

    There are so many issues with this plan by de Blasio and Carranza that I have to stop now. Gotta run errands anyway…

    1. Prairie Rose – Just try teaching gifted and talented students in a regular classroom. They are bored stiff.

      1. I did. My 8th graders were loosely grouped by ability because of the schedule for advanced versus regular math. We had a rigorous curriculum, and I worked very hard to differentiate. Some were probably bored sometimes, but I tried to match the rigor of discussion to the class while still covering the necessary material.

        One of my less skilled readers said that when we first started one of the more difficult short stories, she hated it, but by the time we finished analyzing it, she had found she really enjoyed the story.

        I agree that having too wide a disparity in ability is detrimental to all, though.

        1. Prairie Rose – the problem for the teacher is: who do I teach to? Now, some literature books have sections for advanced students which is a help and I used to take my top students and just put them on a special track that the school did not know about. They were getting more intense literature to read, deeper analysis, etc.

          What I learned over time was that I set the bar at the top of the class and then I helped everybody get there if they were willing to try hard enough.

          1. Paul,
            ‘Who do I teach to?’ is absolutely the main, difficult problem.

            “What I learned over time was that I set the bar at the top of the class and then I helped everybody get there if they were willing to try hard enough.”

            Yep, that was my strategy, too. ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?’

            That is a kind of differentiation, helping disparate abilities reach a higher bar (a kind of scaffolding). Effort goes a long way.

            I liked literature circles because the wide variety of books allowed students to self-select with their own abilities and interests in mind.

  8. This is another example of how harmful and ignorant it is to politicize our education system hard Left.

    In addition, differences in racial components of students was not evidence of deliberate racism. Some Asian cultures have an observable emphasis on education. Since parental involvement in education, and the importance placed on it in the home, are correlated with student performance, then the children of these families trend higher in student outcomes.

    By eliminating the positive results of these students’ hard work, they have discouraged their studies.

    Perhaps the American people will learn this lesson one day. A difference in outcome among the races is not, in and of itself, evidence of racism. A majority black police force in a majority black city, for example, is not evidence that white applicants were discriminated against.

    The race card is played so often now that very little thought goes into it.

  9. Eliminating GATE programs due to the race of the students is racial discrimination, and harmful to those students.

  10. Barack and Michelle Obama’s $15 million house of hypocrisy
    – Carol Roth

    the Obamas have benefited handsomely from their time in the White House. President Obama only earned the standard $400,000 salary when he was in office, but after leaving, he and his wife Michelle acquired a joint book deal worth $65 million, high-priced speaking engagements and a deal with Netflix. Now they are rolling in dough.

    However, this lavish new abode is quite a statement in hypocrisy from the former president, who spent his presidency demonizing everyone else’s success.

    From telling small-business owners they “didn’t build that” to the 2018 speech in which he said, “There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough,” the former president has spent his life spreading messages that disparage success.

  11. A panel made the recommendation. That doesn’t mean DeBlasio will take that action. Back in the day, long, long ago, before Gifted and Talented got those capital letters, my public schools did a pretty good job of teaching everyone. By the time we got to high school, we had a choice of classes. At least two classes were added to the curriculum due to student interest: music theory for three of us and an advanced biology course (can’t remember what it was called) for several who really took to biology and wanted another, more challenging course. There were just over 100 of us so it wasn’t the challenge of sorting out the interests of 1000.

    DeBlasio might do better by hiring more Black teachers who seem to be better abled to see the potential of Black students and prepare them for the GandT classes.

    1. So it is your position that only black teachers can recognize the potential in black students? If so, It is a singularly bad concept. It would seem to support all black schools staffed exclusively by black teachers. Is that really what you want? Separate but equal?

      1. @justice holmes

        Separate but equal? Well, I’ve noticed that people love to virtue signal about diversity but choose to live and send their kids to school in areas where there is little of it.

        When it comes to mating and migratory habits white liberals are no different than the Ku Klux Klan. Talk a good game but when the rubber hits the road…

        Of course being a “good” white liberal does not require getting one’s hands dirty, it only requires saying the right things. Otherwise they won’t get invited to the right cocktail parties.


        1. Antonio – it’s all about the schools and crime. Those with means locate to school districts with the highest test scores and college admissions and the lowest crime.

          1. @karen s

            I read and appreciate your comments regularly.

            I think of it as such:

            Good schools just “fall out of the sky, right”? Kind of akin to the “magic dirt” theory as to why some cultures and groups tend to be successful and others do not.

            Maybe good schools exist due to the people who are there, set up and attend them?


      2. Justice Holmes – when the separate but equal doctrine was overturned the all black high school in Phoenix was destroyed and the students were separated to white schools throughout the Phoenix union district. This was to the detriment of the students and the schools. The black high school was far superior to the white high schools it was competing against. Today it is a museum with a dedicated volunteer staff of former students who give guided tours of the school. I have personally no one graduates in school and they were highly educated, several of them having schools named after them in the Phoenix union system.

        However, on another note, two of the worst teachers I hired were black. I had to fire both of them within six months.

    2. Anonymous,
      “Back in the day, long, long ago, before Gifted and Talented got those capital letters, my public schools did a pretty good job of teaching everyone.”

      I agree with this overall, especially st the elementary level. My teachers differentiated and did some ability grouping. It wasn’t perfect, but overall, everyone’s needs were met.

      However, I completely disagree with you that “Black teachers … seem to be better abled to see the potential of Black students and prepare them for the GandT classes.” A teacher worth his salt can see potential in kids, no matter who they are–it is part of a teacher’s job to help all kids explore and expand their potential.

  12. I did a double-take when I saw de Blasio’s name in the same sentence as “gifted and talented”. LOL
    But, pity the hardworking, normal, conservative New Yorkers. That city was such a pleasure to visit in the late 90’s. It was clean, friendly, and safe.
    It’s heartbreaking to see it being destroyed today.

Comments are closed.