Petition Closed
Petitioning New York City Department of Education and 39 others

NYC Department of Education: Fair Admission Process for Gifted and Talented Program

A child's future should not depend on the lottery. If you agree with this statement, please support this petition. The current percentile tile ranking system is not fair and hasn't serve children's best interests. We are asking DOE to adopt composite score as the ranking system for G&T admission.

Letter to
New York City Department of Education
NY City Council Sara M. Gonzalez
NY City Council Vincent J. Gentile
and 37 others
NY City Council Lewis A. Fidler
NY City Council Mathieu Eugene
NY City Council Erik Martin Dilan
NY City Council Charles Barron
Public Advocate for the City of New York Bill de Blasio
NY City Council Ydanis Rodriguez
NY City Council David G. Greenfield
NY City Council Letitia James
NY City Council Robert Jackson (NY City Council)
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn (City Council Speaker)
New York City Schools Chancellor Denise Walcott
NY City Council Oliver Koppell
NY City Council Michael C. Nelson
NY City Council Darlene Mealy
NY City Council Stephen Levin
NY City Council Brad Lander
NY City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito
NY City Council Gale A. Brewer
Panel for Educational Policy Kevin Diamond
NY City Council Rosie Mendez
NY City Council Margaret Chin
NY City Council Inez E. Dickens
NY City Council Jessica S. Lappin
Communications Associate, Chancellor's Strategic Response Group Davis A. Ulrich
Panel for Educational Policy
Panel for Educational Policy Judy Bergtraum
Panel for Educational Policy Dmytro Fedkowskyj
Panel for Educational Policy Freida Foster
NY City Council Daniel R. Garodnick
Panel for Educational Policy Milton Williams Jr.
Panel for Educational Policy Patrick Sullivan
Panel for Educational Policy Ian
Panel for Educational Policy Diane Peruggia
Panel for Educational Policy Jeannette Moy
Panel for Educational Policy Rosemarie Maldonado
Panel for Educational Policy Tino Hernandez
NY City Council Helen Foster (NY City Council)
I just signed the following petition addressed to: New York City Department of Education.

Fair Admission Process For Gifted and Talented Program

A child's future should not depend on the lottery. If you agree with this statement, please support this petition.

We have witnessed year after year parents' frustrations over the gifted and talented (“G&T”) admission process. The number of qualified candidates has continued to grow while the number of available seats has failed to keep pace. The new tests introduced this year have not changed this trend. In fact, after the recent announcement of scoring errors made by Pearson, the number of qualified candidates has surpassed last year’s and hit a new record. History proves the failure of the current percentile ranking system. We are asking DOE to adopt composite score as the ranking system for G&T admission.

The current percentile ranking system is not fair. A sibling who scores in the 90 percentile will have priority over a non-sibling who scores in the 99 percentile for a seat in the district wide G&T program. A sibling who scores in the 97 percentile will have priority over a non-sibling who scores in the 99 percentile for a seat in the citywide G&T program. The difference between the 97 percentile and 99 percentile could be 20 errors. And the difference between the 90 percentile and 99 percentile is much greater.

Moreover, the low admission standard under the percentile ranking system has not served children's best interests. On the one hand, many gifted children didn’t win the G&T lottery and were not receiving the support and programs they needed to reach their highest potential. As a result, they have lost interest in school. On the other hand, some children dropped out of the G&T program because they could not keep up with the class.

We are asking DOE to raise the admission standard by using a child's composite score, instead of percentile rank, when determining eligibility for the G&T programs. Under our proposal, based on the available seats of the G&T programs, DOE will decide the cut off composite scores for citywide and district wide G&T program respectively. Whoever scores above the cut off score will be eligible for the programs.

Admitting children based on composite scores achieves the following purposes:
1. It alleviates the G&T seat shortage by greatly reducing the number of eligible children and matching the number of students eligible for the programs to the number of available seats;
2. It ensures fairness by admitting children based solely on merit;
3. It helps maintain the quality of the program and serves children's best interests by assigning children with outstanding academic ability to a program that teaches to such students; and
4. It avoids any potential score calculation mistakes made by Pearson.
5. It serves the goal of the G&T program, i.e. "provide challenging instruction to children with exceptional academic capacity" (as stated on the DOE website), by selecting the top talented children.

The opponents to the composite score system claim that this system will abolish the sibling priority and cause family hardship because their children will be placed in different schools. First of all, the composite score system doesn’t abolish the sibling priority because siblings will still have the priority if their composite scores are the same as non-siblings. It simply raises the admission standard. Secondly, the G&T program is a merit-based program and academic ability, instead of family convenience, should be the sole admission standard. Lastly, when a parent accepts a seat for the G&T program for his/her older child, he/she should have been prepared for the possibility that their younger child may not become qualified for the program.

Therefore, we strongly urge you to adopt composite score as the ranking system for G&T admission starting this year.