GiftedNYS is pleased to announce its first position paper, a key stakeholders’ unified appeal for New York State to meet the needs of its diverse gifted student population:
We acknowledge this appeal comes at a time of budgetary constraints and many high priority issues. It is also coincident with misguided calls to end gifted and talented programming as a means to address inequitable access to gifted programs and unique opportunities presented by Governor Cuomo’s call to reimagine education in New York State.
Deep inequity in access to gifted and talented programming exists and must be addressed. In response to New York City’s School Diversity Advisory Group’s Task Force recommendations to eliminate gifted and talented programming, released August 2019, we believe this recommendation will not achieve the intended goal of equitable access to gifted opportunities, and in fact, is likely to increase inequity in access and risks failing to meet the needs of most, if not all, of New York City’s gifted students.
Access to quality gifted programming is not only an issue in New York City, but throughout all of New York State. In a 2015 survey by the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights, 127 of New York’s 732 school districts, or 17.4%, reported offering some form of gifted programming. These programs are concentrated in New York City and the surrounding area, leaving most of the state’s students needing gifted education and services unidentified and under-served.
We call on New York State to establish inclusive identification strategies, quality strength-based programming, robust professional development requirements and opportunities, and bi-lateral accountability for local education agencies and the New York State Education Department. Please join us in our call to action by:
- Contacting your state legislators to ask for their support and a voice in New York’s Reimagine Education initiative (a downloadable version of this appeal and cover letters are available on our website)
- Signing our petition
- Sharing your story with GiftedNYS
We understand that there is great uncertainty about life post-COVID-19. It is for precisely this reason that we need to address this issue now. New York must embrace all its students to secure the state’s future. The current state of affairs is laden with obstacles. It also offers unique opportunities to pave a path forward for gifted education in New York State.