Should NYC Ax Gifted Programs to Integrate Its Schools?


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The New York Times
SOURCE: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/de-blasio-gifted-programs-segregation-new-york-city-schools.html
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Summary

But racial and class-based disparities in admissions to selective middle and high schools makes clear that merely delaying the onset of tracking would not prevent it from exacerbating segregation.Thus, if the city genuinely wishes to integrate its schools, the mayor’s advisers say that it should phase out the selective gifted and talented programs altogether, while also curbing the use of exclusionary admissions criteria at public middle schools (notably, the report declines to call for eliminating the city’s selective high schools). Which is to say that tracking and selective admissions reliably segregate schools along socioeconomic and racial lines, and damage outcomes for the disproportionately low-income and nonwhite students consigned to lower levels, while accomplishing little else.All this said, it isn’t actually difficult to understand why the panel’s proposal has already inspired vehement opposition from a diverse array of city officials and interest groups, from the Bronx Borough president (whose constituents’ children are almost all shut out of gifted programs), to the teachers unions, to likely 2021 mayoral candidates. But for the typical parent, peer-reviewed studies are less compelling than the knowledge that their kid is “on track” or the sight of her walking the halls of the “good” school, surrounded by the “right” crowd.Add to this the reality that optimizing instruction for a mixed-aptitude classroom is genuinely challenging and can be done in a manner that frustrates more advanced students, and that many high-performing middle-class students will feel more comfortable in classrooms populated by people like them, and it’s easy to see why the mayor’s office’s plan would strike a nerve. Part of why New York City’s gifted programs were established in the first place was to offer upper-middle-class families an alternative to moving their kids to affluent suburbs or private schools, which is to say, to forestall them from using an alternative means of keeping their children’s learning environment from being excessively socioeconomically diverse.Critically, the appeal of screening is not limited to parents anxious to keep their children ensconced in the middle class; it is also prevalent among those most committed to seeing their progeny escape the precariousness of their own circumstances. But so long as acquiring select credentials — and social distance from working-class people — are prerequisites for getting ahead in our economy, many parents are bound to demand that their children have the opportunity to acquire such distinctions in their schools.Trump’s trade war tax A new wave of tariffs by the Trump administration went into effect on Sunday, rendering the majority of goods imported to the United States from China subject to import taxes.It is the latest move in a drawn-out conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

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