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.
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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.