View Full Version : All NYC Change in G&T Sibling Preference Policy Will Divide Families

12-19-2012, 01:01 PM
From Schoolbook (http://www.schoolbook.org/2012/12/19/change-in-gt-sibling-preference-policy-will-divide-families/) by Matt Kovaleski and Willow Lawson:

On last year’s New York City Department of Education gifted and talented assessment, thousands of pre-kindergarteners scored high enough to be eligible for approximately 275 kindergarten slots at popular “citywide” gifted and talented elementary schools. These coveted programs are available only to children who qualify by scoring at or above the 97th percentile on a short placement test.

But because of high demand every year, the seats are awarded by lottery almost entirely to children who score at the 99th percentile.

In a school system of over 1 million students, Chancellor Dennis Walcott has now responded to this overwhelming imbalance — not by increasing the number of G&T programs, but by revising admissions rules for siblings.

Walcott’s solution is to alter D.O.E.’s slight preference that affords automatic placement for qualifying siblings of children who already attend citywide G&T programs. This affects a handful of seats each year at schools like Brooklyn School of Inquiry, which our children attend.

The D.O.E. currently uses a lottery for all qualifying children, which seems to acknowledge the limits of two placement tests given together during less than an hour. Instead, the proposal to be voted on Thursday night by the Panel for Educational Policy would mean prospective kindergarteners are ranked by aptitude on the tests, with those achieving the highest adjusted raw scores admitted.

By attempting to make minute distinctions among the abilities of hundreds of young children already within the 99th percentile, the D.O.E. is endowing the test with an ability its authors have never claimed, let alone demonstrated. It assures an explosion of test prep, mostly within affluent families, among kids who can’t even tie their shoes. The D.O.E. will make no attempt to keep families together – even twins must have the exact same score to be placed together.

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