The percentage of minority students in the city’s gifted and talented kindergarten classes increased this school year from last, according to data the Department of Education released today.
But while the percentages of Hispanic, Asian and multi-racial students all increased, the ratio of black students to the whole class declined by just over one percentage point....
The increase in the ratio of minority students to the whole class is a change from the previous year. In 2008, a New York Times analysis of the first class of gifted kindergarten and first-graders admitted under the standardized admissions process showed that the policy had resulted less diversity in admissions, not more.
The number of kindergartners enrolled in gifted and talented classes nearly doubled this year from last, from 874 to 1554 students. (A large increase in both the number of students who took the exam last year and in the number who met the city’s cut-off for admission spurred that jump.)...
Over the years, many theories have been floated about why African-American students tend to score lower on standardized tests, ranging from the racist IQ distribution of The Bell Curve to accusations of cultural biases of the tests themselves. (One question on the Stanford-Binet a few testing seasons ago required that the young applicant be familiar with winter weather in the Caribbean. Which spoke to a certain social, if not ethnic class, at the very least.)
One theory that hasn't gotten much play was addressed briefly in Gifted Minority Students and the NYC Private Schools. New York's top private schools are always on the look-out for gifted students of color, and they are prepared to be very generous with financial aid for the right applicant.
Just anecdotally, I know of two African-American students who turned down seats in the Anderson program in favor of top-tier private schools, and another handful who opted out of their local G&Ts for the same reason. A child judged gifted by an NYC public school will likely meet the criteria for private, as well. And the private schools (which notify earlier, too; the DOE has yet to meet its own deadline for when scores are announced and placements confirmed, while all the private schools have a strict acceptance timeline they always stick to) are more motivated to present an attractive recruitment package.