Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter announced today “Brilliant NYC,” putting an end to NYC's gifted and talented programs in public schools.
The mayor, who has been talking about making this move since the beginning of the year, says the current gifted and talented programs create barriers for students, especially those from underserved communities.
“The era of judging 4-year-olds based on a single test is over. Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few,” the mayor said. “Every New York City child deserves to reach their full potential, and this new, equitable model gives them that chance.”
The new accelerated learning program will be offered to 65,000 kindergarteners, as opposed to the 2,500 enrolled in current gifted and talented programs.
Students currently in gifted and talented programs will remain in those programs so there is no disruption to their learning, but no new G&T classes will be formed. Brilliant NYC will be phased in for first-third grades. As part of the new program, all students will be universally screened in second grade by subject area to determine where their strengths lie in order to tailor accelerated instruction, according to the city.
What Parents Should Expect with Brilliant NYC
There will be no more testing for entry into gifted programs, and there will be no more separate classrooms.
Beginning next fall, all 800 elementary schools will offer an instructional model that promotes project-based learning, group work, enrichment opportunities, and theme-based instruction.
The city will invest more money into training for kindergarten teachers so they can create age-appropriate learning opportunities and learn how to observe and identify students' strengths. According to the city, this framework ensures that students are taught in the same classroom at different instruction levels while tapping into their interests.
The mayor and schools chancellor, who has been criticized for not engaging parents and students in this historic move, will host community meetings in all 32 districts this year to solicit their feedback.
“As a life-long educator, I know every child in New York City has talents that go far beyond what a single test can capture and the Brilliant NYC plan will uncover their strengths so they can succeed,” Porter said. “I’m excited to get into neighborhoods across the city to hear directly from communities about the types of learning opportunities that pique students’ interests and lets their gifts shine.”
With the mayor leaving office next year, the policy could change with the new administration.
For more information, visit the city Department of Education website at schools.nyc.gov.