Man, the DOE just can't keep its mind made up about anything, can it? When DOE officials announced the new policy for admission to gifted and talented programs earlier this year, they were emphatic that research has proven that gifted programs are useful only for students who score in the 95th percentile or above on certain standardized tests. But now the Daily News is reporting that the DOE might be considering children in the 90th percentile and higher.
The Daily News speculates that "officials may be reluctant to exclude large numbers of children" — more than 50,000 kids tested for G&T this spring. If the rumor turns out to be true, I'll wager that the change was made not because of the number of students who would be excluded with the higher cutoff but because of where those students live. In some districts that haven't had robust G&T or test prep cultures, too few students might have scored at the 95th percentile or higher to field an entire class. That wouldn't look too good for the DOE, which explained the policy change as an attempt to create equity across districts.
And perhaps the DOE is responding to the anger of parents and community leaders in districts where the new standard would almost certainly cut down on existing gifted programs, such as District 22 in Brooklyn. Their frustration and anger are nothing, of course, compared to that which the DOE can expect from parents whose kids narrowly missed the cut for G&T, no matter the cutoff ultimately used; letters will go home by the middle of this month, several weeks later than originally planned.