The NY Gifted Education Examiner has written at length about the many, many flaws of New York City's Gifted & Talented Kindergarten (and beyond) admissions process:
* It tests the children too young for the scores to mean anything
* It never retests them to see if they still qualify in subsequent grades
* It leads to huge racial disparities in the classrooms
But, the biggest issue, and one never addressed by the DOE is the lack of seats to accommodate those that the city itself has classified as Gifted. This year, almost 4000 children qualified for what amounts to about 300 seats in five citywide programs throughout the five boroughs. 2,560 scored in the 99th percentile. They'll be the ones competing via lottery for the 220 or so seats left after siblings of kids already enrolled in a citywide school are given priority.
How can DOE justify not accommodating every child that qualified if they genuinely believe that those children require differentiated instruction? On the other hand, if their stance is that those children who don't get a seat in a Gifted program (citywide or district, as even the latter can't fit all candidates) will do fine in General Ed. then how can they justify the expense of testing, administrating and staffing any kind of Gifted program at all? (Children who score above the 90th percentile qualify for their district G&T, but not the citywide.)
Though the lack of seats is a question that comes up every year, in 2013, a group of parents decided to do something about it. They sued the city to get them to change their policy.
The suit was made possible by a variety of factors, not the least of which was the massive screw-up in this year's results by the testing company, Pearson. As a result of errors they made in scoring, 2,698 students who didn't previously make the cut, ended up qualifying for their district Gifted program, and 2,037 students who previously qualified only for district programs also became eligible for citywide programs.
Last year, 9,644 students qualified for G&T overall. This year, that number is up to 11,815 (compared to 9,020 reported before the errors were accounted for, and in spite of the new test that was going to make it much harder to score highly).
As a result of the lawsuit, parents still haven't been notified of where their child has been accepted for Kindergarten (which, in turn, affects parents who are waiting for seats to open up in their local, charter or unzoned schools once families accept a G&T offer and give up the spot they're holding).
On June 7, a judge sided with the city, tossing the parents' lawsuit. On June 10, the DOE promised that placement letters would go out in the mail "mid-June." Tomorrow is the 15th. That would be the definition of mid-June.
Has all this school fuss got you stress eating... and singing show-tunes? Then check out The Worldwide Dessert Contest, a children's book that comes with its own original musical score! When all else fails, singing about roller-skating apple pies never hurts....