Last October, we lamented New York City’s neglect of high-ability students, particularly in its low-income neighborhoods. Since then, the district and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña have taken steps to mitigate the problem.
Unfortunately, their efforts fall way short.
We surfaced multiple problems in Gotham’s approach to gifted-and-talented education, beginning with the once-a-year entrance exams that determine admission to the city’s skimpy and badly distributed supply of such opportunities for primary and middle school students.
Scored with a single citywide cutoff level, it’s a disaster for poor kids. In parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, for example, just 14 percent of test-takers passed the January 2016 test. In parts of the South Bronx, it was 15 percent. Yet on Manhattan’s Upper East and West Sides, a whopping 46 percent reached the threshold.
These wealth-correlated pass rates mirror the city’s supply of gifted-education opportunities. Four of the poorest of Gotham’s thirty-two school districts have no gifted program to speak of, and many others have too few and do little to get the word out about those they’ve got.
This summer, Fariña and company launched an experimental program to make these programs more inclusive by targeting ill-served neighborhoods, such as those mentioned above and...