The Racial-Justice War On Merit-Based Schools: It’s an Injustice Against Excellence, Critics Say

“Parents fighting to keep selective schools in New York City reject the everybody-wins narrative as naive. Yiatin Chu, co-founder of Parent Leaders for Accelerated Curriculum and Education (PLACE), says students of all groups have a wide range of abilities and lumping them together in classrooms makes it impossible for teachers to challenge all of them at once. A 2013 study, published in Gifted Child Quarterly, of five diverse elementary schools in several states found reading levels in classrooms ranging from about two years below grade level to about six years above it.

“I see a huge disparity in terms of abilities, and is it reasonable to expect our teachers in big classrooms to differentiate the teaching to really meet the needs of all students in that class?” says Chu, who has a child in public school. “The truth is no, they cannot.”

PLACE is fighting an uphill battle against the education department. New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has called screened schools “antithetical” to public education and has talked in vague terms about changing gifted-and-talented programs. Last year, as PLACE was advocating to keep admissions screens, the department reached out to integration groups, telling them to “make more noise.”

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