Petition Closed
Petitioning New York State Senate and 56 others

NYC Department of Education: Reject proposed changes to sibling admissions policy

The NYC Department of Education is pushing through an amendment to the Chancellor's Regulations making it almost impossible for siblings to stay together in Gifted & Talented programs, even if they are equally qualified.  The hearing is on December 20th.  We need to act fast to fight it!

We believe that the proposed changes would hurt families because:

1. The proposed change would push middle class, low-income, and minority families out of G&T programs by creating expensive logistical problems.

2. This change is unfair because it only applies to G&T programs; sibling policy is maintained elsewhere.

3. This change imposes inequity on middle class and minority families instead of addressing the real problem: not enough citywide G&T programs to educate all qualified kids at the level they are eligible for.

4. The change would purport to rank all NYC 4 year olds in numerical order, according to ability, using a test that testing experts say cannot be used in that way.

*Please include your NYC public school affiliation, if any, when signing this letter.  

Thank You!

Letter to
New York State Senate
State Senator Bill Perkins
State Senator Jose Serrano
and 54 others
State Senator Daniel Squadron
PEP member Rosemarie Maldonado
Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky
NY City Council Steven Levin
Executive Director, Office of Student Enrollment Susan Confield
Admissions Process Manager, NYCDOE Nicholas Farrell
NY City Council Rosie Mendez
NY City Council Margaret Chin
NY City Council Brad Lander
NY City Council Robert Jackson
State Representative Linda Rosenthal
State Representative Daniel O Donnell 2
New York State House
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
State Representative Sheldon Silver
State Senator John Flanagan
State Representative Brian Kavanagh
State Representative Nicole Malliotakis
State Representative Joan Millman 3
State Representative Rhoda Jacobs
State Senator Adriano Espaillat
State Representative Keith Wright
State Representative Catherine Nolan
State Senator Michael Gianaris
NY City Council Gale Brewer
NYC Mayor MIchael Bloomberg
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn
General Counsel, NYCDOE Courtenaye Jackson-Chase
NY City Council Melissa Mark Viverito
NY City Council Domenic M. Recchia Jr.
NY City Council Michael C. Nelson
NY City Council Vincent J, Gentile
NY City Council Daniel Dromm
NY City Council Jimmy van Bramer
NY City Council Peter Vallone
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio
Chancellor, NYC Department of Education Dennis Walcott
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
PEP Member Judy Bergtraum
Office of Public Affairs, NYCDOE Jahmeliah Nathan
Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement, NYCDOE Jesse Mojica
PEP Member Patrick Sullivan
PEP Member Diane Peruggia
PEP Member Tino Hernandez
PEP Member Dmytro Fedkowskyj
PEP member MIlton Williams, Jr.
PEP member Ian Shapiro
PEP member Jeanette Moy
PEP member Frieda Foster
Deputy Chancellor, NYCDOE Marc Sternberg
Deputy Chancellor, NYCDOE Kathleen Grimm
Director of Elementary School Enrollment & Admissions Gentian Falstrom
Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
The Department of Education recently proposed changes to Gifted & Talented sibling admission policies that will harm children, especially those from less advantaged backgrounds.
We urge you not to adopt them. Instead, the DOE should create enough seats for all students qualifying for elementary G&T education while retaining its current admissions policy.

The proposed new rules would grant admissions priority based solely on raw scores achieved by four-year-olds taking a brand-new G&T test. This effectively reduces children to numbers, even though test experts say higher raw scores do not indicate greater qualification between students within a single percentile.

Previously, Mayor Bloomberg supported family unity in schools, recognizing that families suffer transportation and scheduling hardships when their children are placed in separate schools. The proposed new policy rejects family unity, hurting those who relied on the promise that younger children could join siblings if qualified for the same school.

The DOE adopted a new G&T test with the stated goal of increasing diversity in G&T programs. But the change to admissions policy would decrease diversity in G&T programs. We have seen low income minority families withdraw from our schools because of difficult, long commutes. The proposed policy would just make it harder by increasing the chance that kids end up in different schools. Struggling families would be forced to pull gifted children out of G&T programs for purely logistical reasons. Families with more than one child would find it difficult to accept a spot in any G&T program not housed in their zoned school.

Sibling policy has never done more than ensure family unity once a younger sibling meets the stated qualifications for a G&T program. It is unfair for families who made decisions based on one set of rules to be subjected to new rules. The real solution here is not to keep siblings out of G&T programs. The solution is to provide sufficient G&T programs for all qualified students. The new anti-sibling policy doesn’t address this problem.