Demand the DOE Give the G&T Admissions Test

Sign our Open Letter.

Please read the letter below. To add your name to this letter, click here.

Dear Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza,

At a time of enormous uncertainty, clear and consistent communication by the Department of Education (DOE) is more essential than ever. In past years, the DOE opened the Gifted and Talented Request for Testing (RFT) by October and administered the test in January. Schools are now on winter break and families still have no clarity on Gifted and Talented (G&T) admissions. It is highly concerning that the DOE has not yet renewed the contract for the G&T entrance exams in July. It is even more alarming that after the DOE opened Kindergarten application on December 14 the G&T information was notably absent in Mayor de Blasio’s December 18 middle school and high school announcement.

The DOE will administer the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) in middle schools across the city starting on January 27. The Special Music School and Hunter College Elementary School have continued their in-person assessments for Kindergarten admissions. Therefore, there is no reason the DOE cannot similarly administer the G&T test.

We demand that the DOE:
1) Make NO CHANGES to the existing G&T admissions policies and keep district and citywide G&T programs and structure in place;
2) SET A DATE for G&T testing in the first three months of 2021 and judiciously plan to administer, report and provide offers to families in a timely fashion before the start of the 2021-22 school year;

We oppose any drastic, wholescale changes to successful programs during a time of uncertainty without family input and without due diligence on the merits of such programs. Possible changes to the G&T model and replacing it with the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) supported by the School Diversity Advisory Group’s (SDAG) report which was drafted without significant parent input would be unacceptable as it also does not support differentiated teaching or accelerated academics. Instead, the DOE should expand G&T programs to all districts with additional 3k and pre-k programs to support families interested in G&T.

The Mayor and DOE acted in bad faith by willfully ignoring the overwhelming public feedback to maintain existing middle school and high school admissions policies since spring 2020. Over 52,000 parents and friends signed a petition to support New York City’s Gifted & Talented programs, and oppose the proposal to eliminate them. Therefore, in order to restore public confidence, any major policy changes must be made with genuine collaboration and transparent communication across parent, teacher and administrator stakeholders.

Signed by:

References on SDAG and NYC Gifted and Talented programs:

“The council’s resolution, which passed 7 to 4, said the advisory group of roughly 40 members lacked representation from advocates of gifted programs and failed to give parents a meaningful voice in developing its proposals.”

“If the city were to adopt the plan, the city runs the risk of thousands of families – mostly white and Asian families – leaving the city’s education system, fleeing to the suburbs or private schools instead, which would make integrating schools even harder, according to the Times. There may also be pushback from those in predominantly black and Hispanic communities who have been arguing that their communities need more gifted programs – not fewer.” Petition: Do not close G&T programs in New York City (52,000 signatures)