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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gifted and Talented Elementary Grade Kids in Districts 26 and 30 in Queens Will Automatically Get G&T Middle School Placement

Are we seeing a "new" Carmen (Farina)? Is she trying to have those parents, teachers and children who were harmed back when she was Principal of PS 6, at Region 8, Superintendent of District 15 and Deputy Chancellor under Mayor Bloomberg "forget" what happened and start over? Or is her current agreement with the G&T parents in Queens to have their kids skip any testing for the Middle School simply a part of her honeymoon with NYC?

When Carmen was Principal of PS 6, she destroyed the G&T program because she thought that G&T led to favoritism. She wanted all kids to learn in the classroom, so the kids that scored 1 or 2 on tests should be brought to a high 2 or even a three, and kids that scored a 3, or 4 could be brought to a low 3 or high 2, and then the young teachers without tenure who were hired to replace the tenured teachers with high salaries could succeed in teaching the Whole Language and TERC math curricula.....often cited in articles and websites as part of the "dumbing down of America".

I guess we will have to see what happens next.

Betsy Combier

Queens

City agrees to grandfather District 26 gifted and talented students into middle school 

Parents of the G&T students in northeast Queens had raised an outcry after the city attempted to base middle school admissions on ELA and math test scores

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ANTHONY DELMUNDO/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

 
Parents of students in the gifted and talented program at Public School 203, in Oakland Gardens, Queens, are pleased that their children will be automatically accepted into the middle school G&T program.

Don’t mess with the parents of the brightest students in northeast Queens.
The city backed off a hotly contested plan on Tuesday to force elementary students in the gifted and talented program in District 26 to reapply for the coveted middle school seats. The stunning reversal came after parents raised the war cry.
The Department of Education — under new Chancellor Carmen FariƱa, agreed to grandfather current gifted students into the middle school program. Incoming kids will have to reapply based on their fourth grade ELA and math scores.
District 26 — and 30, in northwest Queens — are the only two in the city that guarantee students the highly-sought seats. Once admitted to the elementary school program — based on performance on a pair of aptitude tests administered before kindergarten — students may stay through middle school.
Students in all other city districts have to re-apply.
The Department of Education did not provide answers to questions about changes to the program, but parents took it as victory and said they were pleased.
“I’m very happy about this,” said one parent, Susan Oh, who has two sons in the gifted and talented program in Public School 203, in Oakland Gardens. “We were considering moving to Long Island, because our kids weren’t guaranteed a spot.”
She helped collect almost 800 signatures protesting the city’s decision to base middle school admissions to the gifted and talented program on test scores.
Parents — who typically jump through hoops to get their children a seat in the program — only learned of the policy change late last year, after their kids had already taken the state exams.
“Initially, we were all blind-sided,” said Christiana Moy, 46, of Fresh Meadows, who has two kids in the program at PS 203. “There are so many students who test very well in our district.”
Students classified as gifted and talented learn at a faster pace and can typically do work at least a grade level ahead of their peers.
“My child started reading when he was 2,” said Moy, adding that she fears the brainy students could become bored and potentially disruptive if they were ousted from the program. “In pre-K, he started to read to his class.”
City education officials pledged to add more middle school classes for students not already enrolled in the gifted and talented program.
Parents praised the move.
“We just want to have the opportunities for students,” said Jeannette Segal, president of Community Education Council in District 26.
She was optimistic that the city’s abrupt about-face was a departure from the Bloomberg administration’s our-way-or-the-highway style of decision-making.
“It gives me hope that parents are going to have a say, finally, in their children’s education,” Segal said of the new administration.
City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) also said he is cautiously encouraged.
“I’m glad we reached a solution that keeps these parents happy,” Weprin said. “One of the biggest flaws of the Bloomberg administration [was] it had complete disdain for parental input.”

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