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Mayoral Hopefuls Sliwa, Adams Come Out Against De Blasio's Plan To Overhaul NYC's Gifted And Talented Program

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is an update on the future of the Gifted and Talented program in city schools.

Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to overhaul it, citing it exacerbates segregation.

But as CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, there is growing opposition.

The mayor calls his plan "Brilliant NYC," but his attempt to tackle inequality in public schools with less than three months to go in his term might just as well have been called "Unlikely and Improbable NYC," or possibly "DOA NYC," because his idea is receiving an unenthusiastic response in many quarters.

READ MORENew York City Unveils Plan To Phase Out Gifted And Talented Program In Favor Of 'Brilliant NYC'

Angry parents, elected officials and education activists protested outside the Department of Education, slamming the very-late-in-the game attempt by de Blasio to revamp the Gifted and Talented program.

"I'm an immigrant. I'm an African immigrant and, like all children of immigrants, my family came to this country to insure insure, insure that I have equal access to high-quality education," activist Mona Davids said.

There was also a protest on Staten Island.

"Bill de Blasio is taking a grenade, pulling the pin, and throwing it inside of our school buildings and walking out the door and retiring," City Councilman Joseph Borelli said.

FLASHBACKNew York City Schools To Eliminate Entry Exam For Gifted And Talented Programs

That's just a sampling of the voices raised as the mayor held a press conference with Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter to tout the plan that would cancel the admissions test for 4-year-olds and replace it with enrichment for advanced students who will no longer be in separate classrooms.

In third grade, all students would be screened and if they are ahead they would get access to additional programming.

"I don't believe a single standardized test should determine one's future at any age, but certainly not at the age of 4," de Blasio said.

The problem for de Blasio is that implementing the plan would be left to the person who inherits the job on Jan. 1, and neither Republican Curtis Sliwa nor Democrat Eric Adams supports it.

"I would expand Gifted and Talented. You just need more slots, more opportunities for gifted and talented. The mayor has delivered this October surprise and caused tremendous duress to families and children," Sliwa said.

"I'm going to reserve my right to look at the mayor's plan, look through it, but to look at rolling out my plan that's going to be an expansion of accelerated learning," Adams said.

"Would your plan get rid of the Gifted and Talented program the way the mayor's would?" Kramer asked.

"I don't believe what he did speaks for me. I'm going to look at the best way to do it. I'm going to sit down with parents, advocates, teachers and sit down and really put in place something I've talked about for years, expansion," Adams said.

Many are worried that the mayor's plan would be a further impetus for middle class families to leave New York City.

Adams said the fear of middle class flight would not be a driving factor for him. His goal is to offer more accelerated programs plus special programs for kids who learn differently.

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