Watch CBS News

Controversial Plan Recommends Eliminating Gifted-And-Talented Programs In NYC Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A controversial plan to desegregate New York City schools was announced Tuesday.

New York City has the largest school system in the country. Some say, however, it's also the most segregated.

Seventy percent of students are black and Hispanic, and yet white and Asian students are the majority at its highest-performing schools, which have a high-stakes admissions process, CBS2's Lisa Rozner reports.

"These opportunities are exclusionary. They don't reach every single student in the city," high school student Leanne Nunes said.

RELATED STORY: NYC School Admissions Exam Under Debate Amid Segregation Claims

Tuesday, a panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio announced recommendations for the next five years.

Those recommendations include:

  • Placing a moratorium on kindergarten, middle and high school gifted-and-talented programs, including screened schools
  • Ending any school admissions process based on exams, attendance and grades

These exclude the eight state-mandated elite high schools, like Stuyvesant.

"We're not taking away. We're expanding and adding based on what works," panel director Maya Wiley said.

New proposed practices include offering advanced classes in every school and creating magnet schools based on interests like math, science and humanities.

"This is not about lowering the bar. It's about giving all of our students what they need to meet the bar that we set," Richard Carranza, chancellor of New York City schools, said.

Some minorities, however, say the solution is actually expanding the current programs across the city. They worry eliminating testing will eliminate necessary competition.

"If you remove the screen, you now have a mixed bag of talent and therefore you don't necessarily know how the school is actually going to perform," college readiness expert Tai Abrams said.

"If we get rid of testing, we're really open to subjective decision making," David Lee, with the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, said. "I think that on one hand, you'll see a lot of parents maybe send kids to private schools and again, you're just furthering the income gap."

Others disagree.

"There are some gifted-and-talented programs that have selected kids at 4 years old, who will be anointed for eventual placement in those specialized high schools. That's unfair," said David Bloomfield, a professor of education at the CUNY Graduate Center.

A mayor spokesperson says he's reviewing the recommendations. A decision by the mayor isn't expected for at least a few months.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.