Thursday, June 19

G+T K: Your kid, and the city's children


A famously outspoken lot, parents of g+t youngsters had a great deal to say in response to our question yesterday afternoon. Two themes seem clear from the comments which, along with the Times' article on waylaid hopes for diversity in the city's g+t classes, deserve exploration.

First theme: What happened to my kid? With high demand for citywide schools (more on this later) and so many high-scoring children, parents want badly to know how their child stacked up against the competition. We hope the DOE will release data on test scores and admission, but worry about pitting adorable 4-year-olds against their playground pals in the process. How much information is enough, and how much is too much?

Second theme: What about the city's children? Two points emerged here: Is it fair to test, and rely solely on scores, when percentiles are determined by about the same number of points as comprise the test's margin of error? And, why aren't 'citywide' schools truly citywide, in all five boros? (The idea of trekking across bridges and through tunnels for kindergarten is a parent's logistical nightmare -- not to mention, potential mayhem for playdates and birthday parties.) Should the DOE rename the three 'citywide' programs 'Manhattan-wide'? The need for strong programs across all five boros has never been clearer; why is Manhattan the mother lode?

Finally, the DOE's attempt to diversify the programs by reliance on testing has not yielded the desired result; in fact, programs in some districts aren't opening at all.

The process this year was deeply flawed. We wonder how it might change next year, to better serve all children -- yours, your neighbor's, and the folks across town.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good points Helen--I agree with them all. Another point that you did not raise, but I think was in play here was prepping. In a competitive world parents who have the access and the means will do whatever it takes to give their kids an edge--whether that means buying kits that teach skills similar to those tested on the OLSAT, having the child tutored, or even purchasing copies of the testing instruments themselves. This further perpetuates the gap across SES/racial groups and I would suspect that probably accounts for the disproportionately high number of kids at the highest end of the scale: while district programs are closing because of the paucity of 90-97 scoring kids, competition for citywide appears to be so high that only 99s gained access to the most desirable programs and it appears that almost as many 99s were closed out as let in. Given this year's results I would expect the proportion of parents who prep their kids to grow exponentially.

helen said...

Point well-taken; the morning post reflected views of the commenters and (incredibly) yours is the first mention of the role of test-prepping (four year olds!), and the privilege it confers.

Anonymous said...

Using standardized testing four year olds seems an inherently arbitrary and unreliable method to evaluate so-called "giftedness," but using those test results as the sole basis to allocate G&T seats is absurd. Why hasn't the DOE listened to the experts quoted in today's NY Times article?? The resources devoted to the current G&T system should be re-directed to (i) improving across the board education in universal preK and the lower elementary school grades; and (ii) implementing a G&T program beginning in grades 4 or 5. If the city invested more widely in improving preK, K and the lower grades, children from poor and minority neighborhoods would be on a more equal footing to test into a G&T program.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need more citywide programs but making the existing citywide programs Manhattan-only will further entrench the inadequate access that kids from other boroughs have to the most challenging G&T environments-- at the K level and up. I think that two more programs in Manhattan -- mid-town and down-town -- along with a citywide program in each borough would help to ensure that there are enough spots for the 97+ kids. But they should all be citywide.

As for test prep, I think that is a very real factor in all this. A child who is unfamiliar with the types of questions on OLSAT simply will not get the 99 required to get into a citywide school.

Anonymous said...

Helen, please ask the DOE to disclose publicly in meaningful detail the methods it used to assign the citywide seats. I know this is of interest to a small fraction of us, but it would shed light on whether they made efforts to diversify the so-called "citywide" schools, or whether they left it up to chance. On the topic of prepping, I think they should bring back onsite interviews to counter the effects of prepping and also to create more opportunities to diversify the top G&T programs.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that diversifying schools (at least by race) is no longer legally justifiable as of last year. I wouldn't be surprised if the DOE's efforts at expanding testing and relying solely on the numbers was at least in part a response to this changed legal environment.

Anonymous said...

Even if nothing else changes, I hope that next year the DOE is more transparent and accessible. My husband and I have left message after message just to ensure that materials were received, correct misinformation, etc... and have not had one response.

Anonymous said...

I think it's wrong to tutor/prep a child for these tests (and I know I may be in the minority here) ... and am in favor of bringing back the on-site interview. I didn't prep my child as I felt if he's truly "g&t" then this will be the gauge and indicate if he will do well in such a program. I think too much prep gets the student ready for this test, not the readiness for what an advanced program provides.

Anonymous said...

Re 9:15...I did not prep my son for the OLSAT for one moment. Not even a practice test and he only missed 2 questions on the test (he's S/O of programs but that's a different issue). I mentioned above I felt that he should be given a "pure" measurement. I did explain to him that a teacher would come and have him a room and ask him questions ... more "atmospheric" preparation.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there is no longer any teacher component is also sad. When I grew up, teachers helped identify gifted children from their classes, and testing confirmed it. As it is, there are some 99s out there who just made lucky guesses, and 80s out there who were overtired that day. In any case, acting like a 4-year-old with a 99 is truly more "gifted" than a 4-year-old with a 97, based on a one-hour multiple-choice test, is just absurd. But if you read UrbanBaby, you'll see how many parents bought into that. As a gifted child myself, I really, really feel sorry for their kids. The weight of expectation and competition that these tots are under, may reverberate for years.

Bronx_shrink said...

I agree with the comments re: more city-wide accelerated schools and esp. in the outer boroughs. I also firmly believe placement needs to go back into the hands of the districts and perhaps individual schools.

My son is finishing 3rd grade in a district 3, Dual Language G&T program. He tested in when the program was open to any city resident. The small class has survived primarily because the district could seat kids from out of district and out of borough (about 25% of his grade is from the Bx). In addition, the principal and her teachers could identify bright students already in the school who didn't score high enough on the tests, but would clearly benefit from and keep up with the G&T curriculum. This helps make sure that kids who don't get the test prep (or just don't test well) are still recognized for their potential.

Dual Language G&T hasn't been as popular with some zoned families. Therefore in the fall, for the first time in years, there will be no incoming G&T K class in this school. All because of the limitations placed by the DOE with test scores and zone restrictions. It's a real shame.

Anonymous said...

I love what poster #3 says. This whole debate--including the comments of others on this blog--is so dispiriting to me. All children have gifts and talents--and not the same talents; they can learn from each other's differences.

Rather than rushing to build more citywide G&Ts--which would basically threaten even stable, respected non-G&T schools by draining the children of the educated classes (and their committed, involved parents)--an effort should be made to encourage teaching that genuinely individualizes instruction and encourages collaboration.

It is absolutely not true, as one commenter on the previous post noted, that you "cannot get a good education if you don't get a 99." I am so thankful that my bright first grader is in a school that is proudly heterogeneous, that honors her strengths and those of her classmates (some of whom have considerably more challenges as she's in a CTT class), and that has her totally engaged as she reads, writes, calculates, makes music, dances, and plays outside(sometimes twice a day!).

In my opinion, the rush to create more schools, should have as its goal schools like hers; one shouldn't have to rely on a lottery (as we did) in order to get into such a place. I should also add that before applying for kindergarten I did have my kid tested for G&T--I was swept along by the idea that that was what I should do. I could say that I declined the spot we were offered because I realized that this type of program undermined the well-being of the majority of the city's children, but I'm not as selfless as that.

When I thought about what was best for my child OVERALL (i.e. not in the relatively narrow domain of academics), it did not seem like a healthy thing to have her have some idea of her separateness, to inculcate some You vs. Them at such a tender age--and, of course, I got that lottery spot.

I urge readers to re-examine their assumptions that G&T is the only way to go for bright kids.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, 9:59. Bravo.

Bronx_shrink said...

I wanted to add that, my ideal is just what poster 9:59 wrote. In fact, in searching for pre-k for my daughter this year, I "discovered" the Central Park East schools, which I had not known about when my son was going into K. I think there need to be more schools like the CPE schools where the whole child is considered and teachers can really meet the needs of their heterogeneous groups. Children grow into real thinkers and doers who also appreciate their roles within various communities.

Sadly, in this data-driven climate, the G&T programs become more appealing because test scores have come to define success. Until that changes, more kids need to have access to the tools for "success".

Anonymous said...

I agree with so many of these posts, but also wanted to add my 2 cents. I've tried so hard during this whole process not to get swept up in the "if my child doesn't get into x school, he's doomed for life" school of thought. I think, if people would open their minds a bit, they would find some wonderful options.

However, for people who are really interested in changing the system -- in any way -- to focus solely on the BOE is, to me shortsighted. Every teacher I have spoken to, in multiple states, says that Bush's No Child Left Behind program has tied their hands. For better or worse, yhey have to focus mostly on the low performing students. The fact that NYC does offer options -- even if not always enough -- should, I think be applauded. And for parents who want change, they might want to consider working to overturn No Child Left Behind.

Anonymous said...

Prepping 4 and 5 year olds for testing is scary. Believe it or not there are some of us who had our children tested simply because the test was being offered. Never stopping to consider what that would mean in the end. (my ignorance.) My child scored a 97 on his own. Now what? Consider removing him from a school where he is happy? No way. We are fortunate to be zoned to an excellent public school (PS101 queens). This will be the school's first G & T class. Now what? Segregate children on the basis of one day of testing with NO input from teachers!! Ludicrous. While I believe my son is bright, we are fooling ourselves to think that a 99 child is any more gifted than a 97 or a 90 or an 80 for that matter. If you believe your child is gifted based on one day of testing, I wish your child well.
My decision to accept my child's spot was made only after discussion with the teachers that know him well. Keeping in mind that the school has yet to explain exactly how the class will function. In some ways I regret that he was even tested. We have no plans to even utter the terms "gifted" and/or "talented" in the hopes that he will believe his class is no different from the others.

Anonymous said...

My child scored on the OLSAT in the 99th last year and I did absolutely no prepping. I wouldn't have had any idea how to prep him. I barely have enough time to read to him before he goes to bed each night.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who said her kid was in a CTT class and opposes G&T. Doesn't her being in a CTT class promote some idea of her separateness? Why is it okay to have one but not the other?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't the CTT poster, and I don't have a child in a CTT class but my understanding of CTT is that it is about being inclusive, not separate. Parent's of general ed. kids who put their kids in CTT classes are allowing the 40 percent of their child's classmates with special needs to be in a regular class. At least that is what I thought...

Anonymous said...

9:59 here.

1:14 is exactly right--CTT means that there are "general ed" kids and special ed kids in the same classroom which is collaboratively team taught (CTT) by a special ed and gen ed teacher.

My child has NO IDEA who falls into one category vs. another, unless the child has a para appointed to him, in which case she's aware he (in her class these 2 kids happen to be boys) has somewhat special status.

You would also be hard pressed to know which teacher has special ed certification and which doesn't; they both teach all the class, sometimes as a large group, but most often in smaller group divisions.

Perhaps this would be different if she were in an upper grade, but at present there seems no point in pointing out the label "special ed" as these children are just other children in her classroom, valued for whatever it is they contribute as individuals.

And, Bronx_shrink, her school is in Brooklyn but modeled on the original ideals of CPE!

Anonymous said...

10:38 - I think we all need to be careful not to get carried away with our own children and how gifted and talented we think they are (or a test tells us they are). As today's NYT analysis of this year's G&T process (linked in this original blog post) shows, these tests often tell much more about the parents' education levels and socio-economic status than the children's true innate academic talents, regardless of whether the child was prepped for the test or not. Many middle and upper middle class parents prep their kids for success in school from birth without even realizing it. The No Child Left Behind legislation has had a lot of negative unintended consequences, like a massive test-prep culture, but the IDEAS behind it (primarily that all children deserve the same educational opportunities) is something that should be applauded and, if realized, would make the world our children will live in a lot better for everyone. It was a bipartisan law that was meant to correct a major social injustice - that a child's success in school can be fairly accurately predicted by their racial and socio-economic status. Before universally encouraging people to protest NCLB, separate the ideas behind it from the implementation.

Anonymous said...

So...what do we do? What's the most effective way of communicating with BOE? Do we voice our frustrations to district officials? To G&T dep't heads in main office? What's the best way to go from here? (Since I'm new to NYC public schools, I have no idea). What's the best way to help BOE constructively adjust the system they've chosen? Anyone know?
Even if your child got into the school you wanted, you should voice your opinion ... the process, while successful for you, was not an easy one.

Anonymous said...

For all of you who live in Brooklyn who have kids accepted to Nest please join the BrooklynNesters Yahoo Group. We are a group of Nest parents from Brooklyn who came together last year to form this group.
Through this yahoo group many people have arranged carpooling and
trainpools. In addition, a private bus is being put together for those of you who are interested.

brooklynnesters@yahoogroups.com

Insideschools Blog said...

A great question was asked at 2:24 PM: what do concerned parents do to let the DOE know how you experienced this process. On our website, we have a section that allows you to write the chancellor. This is the perfect time to offer your educated, thoughtful opinions.

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree with you @9:59am, I toured a few gifted programs in our district and as of now excepted the placement my son got, it is a decent placement, but I much prefer another school here in brooklyn and am on the waiting list and will hopefully get a spot, because that was the best best school I toured and I toured about 10, some gifted some regular, etc.

I really do think that G & T classes are not necessary at this early age except for the truly special education type of gifted child, the type of child that is so gifted that they do not fit in with their peers, are socially awkward and these kids are very rare, you know them when you see them, they are not hidden to only show up on a test. My son scored a 93 and with the margin of error I think he could of scored even higher. I think my son is smart, smarter then the average child his age based on things I can measure and milestones he has hit, but I also know he is not over the top prodigy in any area and do not think he needs any special education attention at this point. I think that of course like every child, he deserves a good education, one that fosters the beginnings of loving to learn, and this I feel comes down to having an awesome teacher, one that peeks child's curiousity and mind and just gets them excited about learning new things and is not about "challenging" them as far as giving more homework and more output.

Anonymous said...

The focus should not be on more G&T programs. The focus should be on eliminating them altogether and creating strong Gen Ed programs like those offered at 234, 199, 87 and the countless other sought after programs in NYC. There should also be more of an emphasis on programs like those offered at MSC which emphasize the gifts of all children. Learning in a homogenous environment doesn't benefit our children in any way. The world at large isn't white and "gifted."

Not so idealistic anymore said...

I do agree that we need to make our Gen Ed schools great for everyone (with the exception of the truly gifted, who warrant their own program).

But that's a tall order with large class sizes, large teacher:student ratio and 25+ kids with mixed ability. Until there's a way to teach each child at their level, we will need G&T classes to fill the gap. We've been there and done that. If G&T is the way to get my second child a challenging education for his level instead of teaching only the base material outlined by the (low) New York State standards, then I say long live G&T.

We expect a lot from our teachers, but even the best ones may not be able to deliver this tall order, nor should we require them to.

Anonymous said...

4:21pm - You do understand that your kid scored in the 93th percentile which means he is "smarter" than the average child. 50% would be average. This is normed nationwide, of course.

Anonymous said...

Another fact is that Bush has tried to do away with g and t programs, but Senator Dodd and another dem. senator pushed back.

There's controversy, certainly. It should be interesting what plays out next year.

The NY Times article was interesting, but a bit biased. Certainly there are other experts regarding G and T. Do we do away with other tests that DOE uses: IEP (Individual Education Plans), for instance?

It also is unfair to assume everyone who decided to have their child tested prepped for it or had the means to do so. I wouldn't dream of spending the bucks to prep for the OLSAT. My child did get a high score. It seems those whose kid did well on the test would like it, and those whose kid didn't do as well, won't think it's a good test. Regardless, my child's life isn't determined by this test. She's only five. And tests don't guarantee success in life anyway.

That being said: it was open to all. Could the DOE done better in ensuring everyone had access to it? Probably.

Anonymous said...

To 4:27: Have you seen ps 234 it is probably a more homogeneous environment than some of the T&G schools. Maybe the key to a better school is uniformity.

Anonymous said...

The process this year was flawed the test does have a margin of error. Unfortunately the bar must be set at some point to set a standard for admission. Any child score 97 and above should put in a lottery for all of the gifted programs. If any spots remain after the first round of offers than a lottery for the children with scorees of 95-97 should be considered for round 2. This may sound confusing but look where we've been.

Anonymous said...

To accentuate how unfair this process is just think that if the DOE stuck to the original criteria no one whose child scored below the 95th percentile would even be reading this blog

Anonymous said...

My 99 percentile was accepted into Nest. She is smart, was moderately prepped. I thought that was the best for her and I think being accepted in Nest is also proper. The difference between a 97 percentile and 99 percentile is not just two percentages, but two standard deviations. I don't want teacher and school evaluations because we then reopen the world of influence, corruption and more influence. I have none. My daughter is a 99 percentile and is in Nest, and five years ago I would have been up against all the school board member's kids and their family's kids, and their supporter's kids and family's kids, etc. all competing for the local G&T limited seats. When jobs and promotions and influence is on the line those children all of a sudden are gifted.
I will now slog from Brooklyn each day to Nest to give my daughter the education she has earned.

Anonymous said...

9:25pm - You said your child was "moderately prepped". With that statement you still argue that a 99 is so much better than a 97 scoring child? Without prepping do you think she would have gotten into the 99th percentile also?

Anonymous said...

8:22pm - yes! I've been saying this from the beginning. All kids that qualified for a citywide spot should have been put on equal footing and assigned randomly. The same for district programs. Using the percentiles as means to assign seats is dumb because it puts a label on our children and turns the whole thing into a competition. Just read some of the comments on this blog, for example.

Anonymous said...

The OLSAT is basically an IQ test and preping your child might only make the child more comfortable but will not influence the outcome to a measurable level. Please read about the OLSAT exam on the internet. There are 49 percent of the children more gifted than the rest, that is a given. A child is bright, fine. The child must also be emotionally developed to stay with the OLSAT test for the hour. The child has to focus for the hour. The child has to stay with the questions for the hour. Gifted is one thing, there is more. Prepping might take the edge off but everything else is up to the child. Prep all you want. If your child can not grind it out for an hour then no NEST.

MrSubway1 said...

No system is perfect. I agree with the above poster, at least with the standardized exams you are eliminating the corruption, and influence peddling that permeated the earlier admission process.

I suspect that a good number of the people complaining are parents that lost their ability to "game" the system.

My son scored a 99 and we have been prepping him since he was born by reading to him and engaging him. Yes, we also did test prep, but that was more to make him familiar with the testing process.

The real shame now is the dearth of citywide programs in the outer Boroughs. I didn't want to traipse into Manhattan for Kindergarten, but will revisit the issue for middle school.

I do believe it is beneficial for these kids to start this program in Kindergarten.
The most important thing for my child is that he associates with other children who are similar, not racially, ethnically or culturally but in the family's attention to education.

The real purpose of this program is to isolate the kids whose parents value education from those who do not. I am satisfied that the current system is more merit based than the system that existed previously.

curvedfeather said...

A major problem of the G&T system as it currently stands in NYC is the difficulty in entering it after K or Grade 1 - especially at the city wide level. I think this disadvantages boys who statistically don't perform as well on tests like OLSAT at the age of 4 and possibly children in lower income families who possibly don't have the early learning advantages that their peers in higher socioeconomic groups. I think it's likely that many of these children shut out of G&T in K or Gr. 1, likely have potential to develop into the kind of learners that flourish in a G&T program but the deck is stacked against them when seats in the higher grades are so hard to come by. I actually like the idea of a centralized admissions process and the elimination of on-sites. The DOE needs to recognize the weekness of the systems they put in place and take measures to off set them. the OLSAT may serve to ensure that the children entering G&T at 5 yrs should be there but I think it overlooks many who may be derserving but who for whatever reason don't perform well on the test. Moreover, the OLSAT notoriously favors the white middle/upper class. As a city wide measure to maintain the residency of that demographic fine but at the same time as a public institution it seems to me they have a moral and ethical obligation to ensure that other demographics have similar opportunities to benefit from the expenditures in that program. Opening up possibilities in higher grades, possibly with a modified entry process that would include more personalized assesments like the SB might be a step in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

"The real purpose of this program is to isolate the kids whose parents value education from those who do not."

This is the worst thing I have heard in a long time. Public education is supposed to educate children, whether their parents care or not, or are educated or not, or whether the child is an orphan with no one to care about them. Public education is supposed to care for that child's education and give them the best education possible. And I would think that by testing them as early as possible, like 4 years old, that it is trying to see a child's natural ability before being manipulated by parents or "environment". Although I think by 4 a child is heavy into being affected by environment, although I think they are as soon as birth.

If one is interested in having their kids separated out by what family they are brought up in, that is where you pay the mola to get that, money pays for what you want, right? Want your kid with all white people mostly, pay up. Want them with only people who have professors as parents, pay up privately. Want your kid to be with people with the same IQ, pay up.

Public education is not for that, it is for giving EVERY child a right to a good education and to educate children to become educated citizens in this country, irrespective of the parents involvement, which is my biggest problem with public education today, it relies too much on parent involvement.

Insideschools Blog said...

A parent on the Insideschools pre-k and kindergarten forum writes that some G&T offers may be rescinded and because the enrollment office offered more seats than it will be able to accommodate. We heard about similar "overbooking" problem for special education students entering middle school!

It's a little late in the school year for this kind of miscalculation and uncertainty. Has anyone else had a similar problem? Please post on our forum as well.

Anonymous said...

Our son placed into G&T, but was offered a spot far away from our neighborhood. We have a terrific zoned school, which has struggled over the years with a segregated G&T from Gen Ed program...we have decided to enroll in our Gen Ed program in our neighborhood school, where we can hopefully work to make this school really great, like 87 and 199.

Hard to tell what the over-arching goal with this all is --- but from my perspective, there is some effort to get all the schools performing at a better level, and leave the G&T programs as something really different, special for the kids who are identifiable beyond one test at age 4.5.

Anyone you ask at my school will tell you that the curriculum in G&T v. GenEd is no different. What is different is the color of the kids. That's where we need to focus -- make the Gen Eds strong so parents of 4 year olds are not faced with testing craziness and the feeling that if we don't make the cut, we're doing a disservice to our child. The communities around the schools in NYC are vastly different. The schools need to work diligently to work well in those communities to reflect those values, and priorities for education.

Anonymous said...

Catching up on the comments and noticed one at 7:28 that asked, "Do we do away with other tests that DOE uses: IEP (Individual Education Plans), for instance?"

IEP's are not tests! They are exactly what their title suggests, individual education plans, for students with special needs. Surely this poster wouldn't suggest that the city should stop recognizing that a student with mental retardation, emotional disturbance, complete blindness or dyslexia should have accommodations when taught?

Some of these posts (8:39, 9:42, 10:49) are really inspiring. These are the types of parents our public school system needs.

Anonymous said...

My daughter scored at 93% and we received a letter from the NYC DOE on 06/16/08 she didn't get a place in the disctrict 24!

According to the NYC DOE she can however apply for a replacement program by calling the number 212-374-4948 (office of student enrollment) or 212-374-5972 (office of G&T). The deadline is 06/20/08 (today).

I have tried to call up those numbers since Tuesday (06/17/08) and left my cell phone number. However no one has returned my call yet!!!

Does anyone have the same experience?

Can anyone advise how to enroll into the replacement program?

Thanks

Mariana said...

HELP HELLEN.

This has been a crazy week. We did not get a placement letter. I've been in communication w 4 people at the Enrollments and District 30 office and I was finally told today that my son is not in the system! As if they had never received the acceptance letter. What strikes me as weird and is so hard to digest is that there seems to be no record of him at all in G&T (?!). I'm being asked to fax a copy of my letter of acceptance, but I was NEVER asked to keep a copy for my records. Should I hire a lawyer or what? This is insane!

Anonymous said...

Mariana, I know this is the wrong time to bring this up, but - ALWAYS keep a copy of every document for your own records. How else will you be able furnish prove like in this case?

Anonymous said...

I have noticed a tendency of posters to assume that only white, upper middle class children are in g&T programs. This would be a false (and dare I say bigoted?) assumption. I have a child in an incredibly diverse G&T class in district 3. White children are actually in the minority! The G&T classes in this particular school do reflect the community they serve. And yes, the children tested in, albeit not with the OLSAT (they took IQ tests such as the WPPSI, SB, whatever was used last year, etc.). In the fall, since the OLSAT was used, there will not be an incoming K G&T class. What does that suggest about the OLSAT and it's validity with children of color?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:16 above. My feeling has been that a number of parents are turning down placements because the schools are "on the other side of the borough" and for other reasons that, reading through the lines, seem racially motivated. My child will be attending a school where white children comprise less than 2% of the population, and most G&T classs only have 1 or 2 white children. But does that automatically make it a bad program??? It seems like some of the posters, on this and other G&T posts, might think so. But we toured the school twice and even though it's far from our home we are thrilled that our son will be attending in the fall. It's a great program.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:31. Why have so few posters lamented not getting into TAG, an outstanding accelerated program with a long history of educating some of the city's brightest children? I believe that for years they have been using the same assessment measures as the DOE used this year to assess for giftedness (or at least one of the same. So the students who have traditionally been accepted there over the years would be assumed to be on academic par with the incoming K's and 1's to Anderson and NEST in the fall. Is it the east Harlem location that turns parents off? If it's really about finding an appropriate educational setting for highly gifted children, then why aren't more parents interested? I am really curious about people's thought processes. I myself found TAG to be a bit too rigid, but what do others say?

Mariana said...

To 1:10. yeah, it's not the right time to hear that, really... I did make a copy and stupidly, I just cannot find it! I do not want to blame this on myself, and your note doesn't help much :-(

Anonymous said...

Yes, IEPs do involve tests; at least many do. It's an assessment to meet individual needs, and I absolutely am for them. The point I was making is that it's a slippery slope to criticize g and t programs and the testing of kids when it's done for all sorts of children, and rightly so.

My niece has ADHD. The BOE assessed her and as a result, she can take more time on tests.

A friend of mine's teen had behavioral issues. He had many tests given by BOE through IEP. BOE said public school wouldn't work for him, so he was able to go to a private school for two years (class size no more than 10) at $30,000 a year, which was paid by BOE (or rather friend was reimbursed).

Shouldn't a gifted and talented child (or if you prefer, a rapid learner) have an opportunity to work at his or her level with his or her special needs?

Anonymous said...

To MARIANA: I'm in the same situation. e-mail all your info to kcobb@schools.nyc.org She is the only one that can help you. Don't give up. e-mail her constantly.

Mariana said...

To 6:28 - Thank you! I was told they're going to sort this out. We'll see. What district are you?

Anonymous said...

To quote Joel Klein's boss, this whole process has been: unconscionable. All around!

Anonymous said...

hi,

fyi, Brian Leher, WNYC, is going to have some guests this morning (Monday, June 23) to discuss gifted and talented programs and the issues in NYC area. Not sure what time. Hope I can stay long enough to hear it this morn... His show is from 10 to 12.

Anonymous said...

A lot of interesting points made. I’m sorry I missed the radio show this morning. Any way to hear it again?

I really wish there was a G & T elementary school in our boro (Queens) and I am hoping other parents will join me in asking for one.

My child got into her first choice district school (98% ranking). While it was nice to be able to “apply” to a citywide school, the option was a joke. First, the commute from Queens to any of the schools in Manhattan is ridiculous for a 5 year old. Second, being ranked a mere 98%, my daughter didn’t even stand a chance of getting in. We are happy with my daughter’s placement but I do have concerns about the program. Will the school she goes to continue to receive a G & T class every year, or will her class be a lonely experiment? She will be isolated with the same 27 children for 5 years. I have heard other parents use the word “segregation” to describe the program. As my daughter gets older, will she feel segregated from her peers?

I do think the G & T program is important. Are these kids prodigies? No. They are just bright kids who deserve the chance to learn at a faster pace. I have sat in on my daughter’s Kindergarten class. The children had to sit for 20 minutes listening to every child repeat the same sentence and fill in the blank with a verb. A boy in her class who also got citywide ranking, was the first to read the sentence. After about 10 minutes, he was extremely bored, and started getting fidgety and disruptive. Can you blame him? It was boring! But EVERY child had to be able to participate. My daughter, who has an incredible attention span, sat there quietly and waited for her turn. Did she learn anything from this lesson? I guess she learned that in school you do a lot of sitting and waiting. I am hoping that in the G & T class there will be a lot less sitting and waiting and more time will be spent doing interesting projects.

These bright children should have a school close to home where they won’t be isolated or segregated from other students in the same school. They should have the opportunity to experience changing classes and making new friends every year. Also, there is too much “not in my backyard” attitude regarding the G & T classes in our district (28). Local schools are already overcrowded. No one wants to hear that there will be one less classroom or less opportunity for locally zoned children to have art or music because the G & T kids get preference. Basically, these children need a community to belong to. Right now, they are outsiders.

Ultimately, a G & T elementary school in every boro would be ideal. If you feel the same way, speak up about it and look for opportunities to have your voice heard.

Anonymous said...

"No. They are just bright kids who deserve the chance to learn at a faster pace. "

Yes and then kids who score in every % should have a chance to learn at their own pace, right? kids from 0 - 10%, 10% - 20%, etc.

" I guess she learned that in school you do a lot of sitting and waiting. I am hoping that in the G & T class there will be a lot less sitting and waiting and more time will be spent doing interesting projects. "

This way of learning is not about G & T, Montessori schools do not do it that way and neither does other schools like the Brooklyn New School which is a general education public school. What you are talking about are teaching methods, and as you saw a very boring way of teaching and this is not about G & T pace, it is about finding a great teaching philosophy that fosters a love of learning and is enjoyable for the children to learn. Not about who is fastest at going up the math tree or reading vocabulary. But about fostering a love of learning and in feeding and fostering an inquisitive mind who will always for the rest of one's life love learning and will seek it out not just though teachers but also on one's own. And a person will seek it out, not to be the fastest or the first to read or learn something, but because it feels like a natural necessity to the person for their own enjoyment of life.