DeBlasio Commission Recommends Eliminating Public School Programs For Gifted Students Because Of Lack Of Diversity

FILE – In this Sept. 9, 2015 file photo, students arrive for the first day of school at Stuyvesant High School in New York. A push to diversify New York City’s most elite public high schools is facing a backlash from the group that makes up most of the schools’ current student bodies: Asian-Americans. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)


As I have previously noted, the most segregated public school system in the United States is in very Democratic, very blue New York City. And now a working group impaneled by Mayor Bill de Blasio has recommended that the only way to desegregate the Big Apple’s public school system is to end programs for gifted students:

Desegregation Plan: Eliminate All Gifted Programs in New York

A group appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed seismic changes to the nation’s largest school system.

By Eliza Shapiro | August 26, 2019 | Updated 7:54 p.m. ET

For years, New York City has essentially maintained two parallel public school systems.

A group of selective schools and programs geared to students labeled gifted and talented is filled mostly with white and Asian children. The rest of the system is open to all students and is predominantly black and Hispanic.

Now, a high-level panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these selective programs in an effort to desegregate the system, which has 1.1 million students and is by far the largest in the country.

Mr. de Blasio, who has staked his mayoralty on reducing inequality, has the power to adopt some or all of the proposals without input from the State Legislature or City Council. If he does, the decision would fundamentally reshape a largely segregated school system and could reverberate in school districts across the country.


Note that this is only a recommendation, and it was made to Mr de Blasio, not by Mr de Blasio. That’s an important distinction, because failing to take it is to open the door to demagoguery.

He risks alienating tens of thousands of mostly white and Asian families whose children are enrolled in the gifted programs and selective schools. If a substantial number of those families leave the system, it would be even more difficult to achieve integration.

The proposals, contained in a report to be released on Tuesday, may also face opposition from some middle-class black and Hispanic families that have called for more gifted programs in mostly minority neighborhoods as a way to offer students of color more access to high-quality schools.

It’s a long article, one which slams former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s educational programs, which helped to screen for more highly able students to be able to attend public schools which matched their abilities. It proposes different things, which you can see by following the link to the original. Much further down are three important paragraphs:

As the city has tried for decades to improve its underperforming schools, it has long relied on accelerated academic offerings and screened schools, including the specialized high schools, to entice white families to stay in public schools.

But at the same time, white, Asian and middle-class families have sometimes exacerbated segregation by avoiding neighborhood schools, and instead choosing gifted programs or other selective schools. In gentrifying neighborhoods, some white parents have rallied for more gifted classes, which has in some cases led to segregated classrooms within diverse schools.

The application system for gifted classes, which can begin when a child is 4, tends to favor savvy parents who have the flexibility to visit schools and, in some cases, the money to spend on test preparation.


The article blames the high rate of segregation on white and Asian families doing what parents naturally do, try to get the best for their children.

One of the concerns of the panel, mentioned more than once in the article, is that if the schools for the top performers are eliminated white and Asian parents will instead opt for private schools, or public schools in the suburbs, which would increase New York’s public school percentages of black and Hispanic students from the 70% of the 1.1 million public school students. Roughly 75% of the system’s

But underlying the entire article is the obvious but unspoken assumption by the recommending panel: white and Asian students are simply more intelligent and more capable than black and Hispanic students. Oh, the panel members, prestigious people all, would absolutely deny that, but in reading the Times’ story, the impression is unmistakable. Rather than seeking ways to help black and Hispanic students be more successful on the testing which determines which students can go to the selective schools, it promoted the Upper West Side’s District 3, which reserved some seats in the top middle schools for underperforming students, but noted that doing that it “took years of often bitter debate for those politically progressive and racially diverse neighborhoods to finally adopt those plans”.

I suppose that ‘progressive’ neighborhoods prefer ‘progressive’ programs when they are in other people’s neighborhoods.


In truth, it is the left who are the racists that they claim conservatives are. For all of their blathering about multiculturalism and diversity and equality, they only believe in those things for people who live elsewhere, for those of us living in ‘flyover country.’
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