A Queens City Councilman is calling for the reinstatement of the Gifted and Talented entrance exam in the wake of schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s abrupt resignation last week.
In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio Thursday, Councilman Robert Holden pushed for the revival of the polarizing test to accommodate parents who prepared their kids for it.
“In light of Department of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza’s resignation, I am asking that you work with the Panel for Education Policy and schedule a revote on the Pearson test contract for the Gifted and Talented program,” he wrote.
With the exam scuttled, the city scrambled to come up with a new admissions system for next year — a hybrid of teacher evaluations and a lottery.
“It makes sense to go forward with the test to avoid the last minute, highly arbitrary, teacher administered interview and lottery for thousands of New York City’s parents and children,” Holden wrote.
He argued that the revocation of the exam was unjust to families who took the time to prepare for it this year.
“The test is an opportunity to offer families consistency in what has been a chaotic year for students,” he wrote.
But a DOE spokesperson said no changes were forthcoming.
“The Gifted and Talented application process starts in four days, and we do not plan to inflict a last-minute change on New York City families,” said Katie O’Hanlon. “The Panel is an independent body and following their vote against administering the Gifted and Talented test contract, we worked quickly to find a solution that avoids pulling the rug out from families in the middle of the school year while charting a new path forward to create a more inclusive and enriching accelerated learning model.”
De Blasio has said that the Gifted and Talented program will be revamped completely next year.
Critics of the exam and screens in general argue that they favor families of means and have produced minimal numbers of Black and Latino students.
Supporters of the program and accelerated education schools and classes argue that advanced kids should have opportunities to learn at an appropriate pace.