NYC adds 1,000 seats to its Gifted and Talented Schools Program

(Bloomberg) – New York City is adding more than 1,000 places to its gifted and talented public schools program, expanding a controversial education program that Mayor Eric Adams pledged to restart last year during his campaign.

“There will be a gifted and talented program in every school district in New York City,” Adams said during a Thursday briefing. “We are giving every child in every ZIP code a chance that has too often been denied.”

Schools Chancellor David Banks said the expansion allows for two entry points into primary school, adding an additional 100 kindergarten places and 1,000 third year places. There are currently 2,400 kindergarten spaces for the Gifted and Talented Program.

“Every child will have access close to home,” Banks said.

Schools will screen all pre-kindergarten students for gifted behavior based on total academic achievement, rather than relying on a single test for four-year-olds. Applications for both programs will open on May 31.

The Ministry of Education will also expand its third-grade pilot program, extending it to all districts in the city. The top 10% of sophomores will be invited to apply with preference for students applying to programs in their home district. The third-year programs will transition to the fourth and fifth years in subsequent years.

One of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s last acts was to eliminate the city’s gifted and talented program, a key contributor to segregation in the school system. Instead of testing four-year-olds for admission to the program, de Blasio proposed expanding the accelerated learning program and having mixed-grade classrooms.

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