Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Porter promised stakeholders a seat at the table to reimagine accelerated education. He promised this past January that it would occur throughout the year, stating: “From this point through to the end of the summer, we’ll go through that engagement process for a new vision, and we’ll have that formula by September, and then we’ll act on it in September,”…and the mayor, who also tried to reform the specialized high school admissions process, acknowledged he made a “mistake” in rolling out proposed changes without soliciting feedback.
In July, with still no parent engagement, the Mayor announced a brand new program that would completely replace the Gifted and Talented, saying that it will be presented in September – without mentioning details on the plan or potential for parents to comment.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY
Email Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Porter and remind him of his promise to engage families in shaping our program. Send him, Chancellor Porter and your local elected officials the attached sample letter to remind them that the Mayor assured us we would get a chance to participate in this process. Feel free to customize and copy other interested parties in your email and include your own stories on how G&T impacts your family.
Attend CEC Meetings / Support G&T Resolution
During CEC meetings, you may make public comments to ask your leaders to remind the Mayor that he promised engagement and opportunity to help reimagine G&T. Please rally to push your CEC members to pass resolutions demanding parental engagement before any changes are executed.
Message the Mayor: https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/mayor-contact.page
Send Letter to Mayor: Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Hall, New York, NY 10007
Add: Your local officials and DOE leadership here:
City Council – https://council.nyc.gov/districts/
District Superintendents – https://www.schools.nyc.gov/about-us/leadership/district-leadership
Dear Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Porter and cced representatives:
On Thursday July 15th, you announced that a new program to replace the Gifted and Talented Program would be unveiled in September. Over the course of the past year, you have promised engagement opportunities for Public School families to contribute to the process of imagining this new program. You said in your January 2021 presser,
“From this point through to the end of the summer, we’ll go through that engagement process for a new vision, and we’ll have that formula by September, and then we’ll act on it in September,”
We have reached out to you several times over the past year asking to be heard and have not received any response. Instead, we learn of your plans in the middle of the summer, which have not considered any inputs from families like mine. This is both unfair and arbitrary and goes against the promised parent engagement and acknowledgement from your administration that parent engagement overall needs to be improved. In an article from ChalkBeat, you mentioned
“We’ve learned from times when we did things well, in terms of that engagement. We’ve learned from times we didn’t do that engagement well enough,” de Blasio said. “And, certainly, with specialized high schools, we did not. That was our mistake.”
Your administration is making the exact same mistake by ignoring G&T parents, potentially causing severe disruption of 16,000 G&T families and many prospective families who were expecting a G&T program. It is shocking and disappointing to me that as you work on reimagining the programs our children are involved in, you will not allow us a single opportunity to share our thoughts, ideas and concerns. We demand that you keep your promise and offer a chance for families to participate in reimagining our children’s education process.
I have many more ideas and would welcome the chance to partner with you to reimagine the G&T Program’s admissions process to increase access for all NYC students to a range of educational options including those for accelerated learners. I would also like the opportunity to participate in the reimagination of the G&T Program overall.
Please don’t shut out the stakeholders and allow us to have a voice in our children’s education. Give us the opportunity to participate in the reimagination of G&T that you had promised. Keep your word.
[Name of parent/family]