Mediocrity trumps meritocracy as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio ends "gifted and talented" school program
· · Oct 8, 2021 ·

The problem with the current gifted and talented program is that it has too many Asians and too many white people, but that sounds racist when you say it out loud so stop doing that.

The current system will be eliminated by fall 2022 and replaced with one that will include 26 times the current number of students... which in no way will degrade the system whatsoever because everyone knows that there are usually 26 times the number of genuinely-gifted students than we have now because shut up.

This expansion will also require that the number of schools offering the program increase from 80 to 800 and require that all 4,000 New York City kindergarten teachers receive extra training.

Fortunately, as in every profession, talent is evenly distributed among all teachers with absolutely none being superior to another in intellect and ability so the program has that going for it.

Even better, this vastly increased pool of gifted students with their equally gifted teachers will spend the vast majority of their day with kids who are not gifted.

Those children will no longer be separated from their peers and placed into classrooms or schools with other students who are considered gifted. At most, they will spend a period or two of the day in small groups focusing on one subject area with specialized teachers, which is already common in many schools.

I'm sure having teachers dealing with a group of vastly differing talents and aptitudes will in no way diminish the focus and attention on the gifted kids.

I have witnessed this process myself with my own child. While it was an unmitigated disaster – in which the teachers struggled to address the kids who were falling behind while trying to keep the talented ones engaged while also not ignoring everyone in the middle leading to mediocrity and disappointment – fortunately they've fixed that now.

In fact, here is Mayor de Blasio explaining in great detail how it will operate.

"Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few," he said. "Every New York City child deserves to reach their full potential, and this new, equitable model gives them that chance."

There you go!

The gradual elimination of the existing program will remove a major component of what many consider to be the city's two-tiered education system, in which one relatively small, largely white and Asian American group of students gain access to the highest-performing schools, while many Black and Latino children remain in schools that are struggling.

Something had to be done, so rather than find a way to elevate the struggling schools, they decided to make believe that doesn't exist and just toss everyone into the maw of a failing system with no way out.

But hey, if the price of equity is snuffing out individual excellence and placing our nation at a competitive disadvantage, so be it.

While The New York Times lumps Asian-Americans and white people together when calculating the inequity of having so many in those two groups testing into gifted programs (the better to feed the white-supremacy narrative they've been promoting to their readership), the New York Post breaks them out. Currently, Asian students account for 43% of all gifted and talented students, while white students account for 36%.

Most people would peg me as a "white person," but I'm having an awfully hard time getting supremely outraged at that. Let's just say that if I need a brain operation, I'm not checking into how equitable the doctor's education was.

There's no doubt that New York City could improve its gifted and talented program. It's New York City after all, the public education system is mostly a dumpster fire, but lighting on fire the few decent parts of it would not be my first choice as a "fix."

Naturally, Ida Bae Wells of the 1619 Project had to weigh in with her typical rapier intellect and unparalleled talent for missing the point.

Yes, every child has gifts, but not every child has a gift for STEM classes.

She also pointed out that she herself was a product (kind of) of a program not unlike the one New York plans to transition to.

Define, "ok."

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