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Koo Slams Report That Recommends Eliminating Gifted School Programs

Council Member Peter Koo.
(New York City Council)

Aug. 28, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

Council Member Peter Koo has criticized the recommendation made by a mayoral advisory group to end gifted and talented programs in New York public schools.

A high-level panel, dubbed the School Diversity Advisory Group, was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and recommended that gifted and talented programs be phased out, arguing that they are outdated and exclusive.

Koo, however, panned the panel’s findings and said that the programs needed to be expanded if anything, stating the gifted and talented programs could be used to help ambitious students from all walks of life.

“I wholeheartedly condemn today’s report calling for the elimination of NYC’s gifted and talented programs,” Koo said. “These classes are coveted by many students and parents throughout the city and need to be expanded if anything, not eradicated.

“Yet, instead of working to increase access for students in underserved communities, this proposal seeks to completely remove all opportunities to an advanced education.”

The panel, however, argued that the program has led to segregated schools and is too exclusive.

Admissions to New York gifted and talented elementary school programs is based on a composite exam taken before the beginning of kindergarten when students are four years old. The report stated that the programs are seen as a pipeline into the best public middle schools and high schools in New York and that the stakes appear to be very high at such a young age.

The panel suggested that affluent families who can afford to enroll their children in a test preparation program have a crucial advantage in gaining entry into the gifted and talented programs, resulting in segregation in New York schools.

The report started that New York schools are as segregated as Alabama and Mississippi.

The panel’s report found that, of the kindergartners to receive an offer to a gifted and talented program in 2017/18, 39 per cent were white and 42 per cent were Asian, while only 10 per cent were Hispanic and only 8 per cent were black.

However, in the same academic year, 41 per cent of all kindergartners in New York were Hispanic, while 24 per cent were black. Only 18 per cent were Asian and just 17 per cent were white.

The panel recommended phasing out gifted and talented programs and screened schools and replacing them with non-selective magnet schools, which are based on the needs and interests of students.

It also suggested that the city should redesign its competitive high school admission process to ensure that high schools reflect the racial and economic demographic of their area.

The panel said that increasing opportunities for children who have a learning difficulty or live in temporary housing or for children who are black or Hispanic was crucial. It also stated that the creation of an integrated school system was critical and that diverse classrooms could increase educational benefits.

Koo said that an increase in diversity should not be achieved at the expense of success.

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9 Comments

Mock duck

Well comrade Koo. Guess your constituents will be dishing out 10k a yr for holy cross or molloy. Yeah the demorat party sure knows what they’re doing.

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DishonorHizzonner

Good enough for his Dante not good enough for everyone after. More of the Mayor and his selfish goals.

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David

Does DeBlasio have steam trolls that thumb down everything negative to his policies like Roger Ailes of Fox News used in his day, as he mentioned in his book the loudest voice in the room? Or is their an issue with the comment buttons where the same person can put in an unlimited up or down comment? At one time my phone had the unlimited voting ability but administration obviously corrected it. I know the down comments here are in contrast to sentiment in the community.

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FoHi

LOL, David I think you are on to something there. The thumbs down appear to be out in full force today! One post went from 0 to 44! Yet when taken to task to actually post why they are giving disapproval, none of them come forward! 44? He can’t even get 44 people to show up to hear him speak! NOT kidding on that one. Look at any of his sad speaking engagements around the country- it’s literally him and like one farmer (who still wouldn’t vote for him) or him at a round table with like 5 women, it’s truly sad. GO AWAY!

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Mac

This idiot DeBlasio is a racist who lives in an angry dreamworld. He has misdirected anger issues especially towards Asian citizens. It’s always the systems fault, societies fault but never mentions individual accountability. Parents, students and teachers work hard at these “gifted” schools and should be admired not vilified. He probably should create a panel on raising people’s personal standards to match the standards and habits of the people, parents students and teachers, at these highly performing schools.

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FoHi

I don’t see how anyone could give this commenter a thumbs down. Let’s face it, this administration has put so much focus on the black/Hispanic/illegal/undocumented communities that it’s easy to feel that he is anti White/Asian. He tries to turn EVERYTHING into a race issue to rile people up but then when you take a look at his ideas, they’re pretty awful and seem to always involve taking from one group of people to give to another. If a family pushes the importance of education at home and pushes their kids to succeed, and study intense amounts and that kid is able to handle it, get into a good advanced program and keep it up, then good for them, they will probably be a success in life and teach the same to their own kids someday. On the other hand, you have a lot of people out there that have children who really have no idea how to raise them or educate them and teach them the value of hard work, instead they want to complain about the system somehow being unfair and the cards stacked against them, blah blah; if we accept this and lower standards for everybody just to make these people feel better about themselves, what the heck are we accomplishing here? Go to many other countries (especially European) and you find that in comparison, the standards we have here are much much lower already. Thank goodness for a gifted and talented program at least. What Bozo doesn’t get is that each school cannot necessarily reflect the diversity of the entire city. Queens has its black areas, Hispanic areas, white and Asian areas and that’s who’s going to those respective schools. That’s how it is anywhere. You pay to live in a certain spot, you go to those schools, that’s it, done. Instead of lowering the standards, he should be looking for ways to bring gifted and talented programs to whatever areas he feels are underserved. And to the people that gave this commenter a thumbs down, can you please share your reasoning?

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Enough already!

Another shady plan from this mess of a “mayor.” And let’s face it, all of this “panel” stuff is another bunch of nonsense to make everything appear impartial when in reality the panel is loaded with deBlaz supporters and his agenda will get pushed through no matter what. Yes it’s true that some schools might be more white/Asian (NE Queens for example) and some more black (SE Queens) but that’s a reflection of who is living in those areas and the real estate values. People who are paying a prime amount to live in Bayside for instance, do not need the schools becoming overcrowded so students from let’s say Rosedale can be shipped in to achieve some kind of ridiculous diversity quota. That is completely a one way road to disaster as none of the parents from Bayside would even dream of sending their kids to Rosedale. Getting rid of gifted programs is nuts also. Why are we trying to hold back students who have the ability to go further? This wacko administration mentions nothing about the kind of patenting that these kids receive at home. They think they can fix everything by lowering standards. We cannot get rid of this administration fast enough!

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Enough already!

He’s already term limited. I voted against him both times for what it’s worth (Democrat here by the way). Unless there was a major scandal or radical revolt at this point, we’re stuck with him for another 2 years. This is why he is really pushing the more extreme ideas out there now, he doesn’t care what we think- he’s got nothing to lose. So now he’s moved on to trying to socially engineer the schools, force us to accept homeless shelters all over, build a mega prison in Kew Gardens, have his wacko wife personally select who the city should honor with statues, use the NYPD to move his daughter’s stuff out of her apartment, waste time and resources and embarrass the city even further with his ego driven dead-on-arrival presidential campaign… I could literally go on and on. He is completely unhinged and we have to only hope that NYC voters stop only voting along party lines/allegiances and that whoever comes in next can un do the many things he has screwed up.

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