Reimagined Accelerated Learning to All K-5 Students, Eliminates Gifted & Talented Test and Separated Classrooms
NEW YORK – Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and School’s Chancellor Meisha Porter announced “Brilliant NYC,” a blueprint for accelerated learning for all elementary students in New York City and a 32 district engagement plan to solicit community feedback. Starting with Kindergarten in September 2022, accelerated learning will be offered to 65,000 kindergarteners compared to 2,500 kindergarteners that the current Gifted & Talented (G&T) model serves. Students currently in G&T will remain in their programming so there is no disruption to their learning. Brilliant NYC will be phased in for grades one through three.
“The era of judging four-year-olds based on a single test is over. Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Every New York City child deserves to reach their full potential, and this new, equitable model gives them that chance.”
“As a life-long educator, I know every child in New York City has talents that go far beyond what a single test can capture and the Brilliant NYC plan will uncover their strengths so they can succeed,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “I’m excited to get into neighborhoods across the city to hear directly from communities about the types of learning opportunities that pique students’ interests and lets their gifts shine.”
This administration has made clear that the use of a single measure created barriers for students, especially those from underserved communities, and today’s announcement marks the total end to a single test and the segregation of students if they’re labeled as “gifted.” All students will be universally screened in second grade by subject area to determine where their strengths lie in order to tailor accelerated instruction.
Beginning in fall 2022, all 800 elementary schools will offer an instructional model that promotes project-based learning, group work, enrichment opportunities, and theme-based instruction. The DOE will invest in training for all 4,000 kindergarten teachers so they can create rich learning environments in their classrooms, provide age-appropriate project opportunities, and learn to observe and identify students’ strengths. This framework ensures that students are taught in the same classroom at different instructional levels and taps into their interests and builds on them. Seven borough-wide teams of accelerated instruction experts will work with schools to support implementation. Additional teachers will be hired in neighborhoods that historically had little to no G&T programming.
During the pandemic the DOE made it possible for families to interact online with their students’ learning activities. This skill will be leveraged through Brilliant NYC, where parents will be able to view and engage with their children’s digital portfolios.
Throughout October and November, community conversations will be held in all 32 community districts across the city to solicit feedback on the Brilliant NYC blueprint and bring families into the planning and rollout process. An expert panel will offer a citywide opportunity to discuss what accelerated instruction looks like in classrooms. Through November senior DOE leaders will convene district-based forums to provide information on Brilliant NYC and how it can be implemented in their neighborhood schools.
“The launch of the Brilliant NYC program will enrich students in every corner of the City and break down barriers that often limit students’ access to accelerated learning. Our public schools are the pillar of our communities, and I am grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Porter for their commitment to expanding and strengthening educational opportunities for New York City students,” said New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.
"We've long known that sorting the life chances of four-year-olds by test scores is both absurd and unfair. The proposed changes will help expand the number of children who receive accelerated instruction and reduce segregation in NYC schools. I'm grateful to the Chancellor and the Mayor for taking this big step forward towards a more equitable school system that values and nurtures the gifts of all our children,” said City Council Member Brad Lander.
“This is a historic step forward for our city in the fight to create meaningful opportunities for all students, and I know our schools will be stronger because of it. Here in District 13 we’ve been doing essential work to ensure accelerated learning is accessible for every child and build a more equitable system for the entire community,” said District 13 Superintendent Kamar Samuels.
“The promise of a high quality education for all of New York City's students is not a good to be carefully rationed, but a fundamental right enshrined in New York State's Constitution. I applaud the Mayor and Chancellor's bold vision of equity that puts the onus where it belongs, on the continuous improvement of teaching and learning in our city's schools. I look forward to our continued partnership, and renewed energy to ensure that every young person graduates, college, career, and community ready,” said Urban Assembly CEO, David Adams.
“All New York City students are gifted and deserve an education system that values and invests in them. We must move beyond the tools of segregation and scarcity, and commit to ensuring all students have access to an enriching education,” said Matt Gonzalez, founder and director of the Integration and Innovation Initiative at NYU Metro Center.
“New York Appleseed applauds the long overdue decision to phase out the segregated Gifted and Talented programs that were a model for exclusion rather than inclusion. Separate will never be equal and by eliminating this lever of segregation, New York City is one step closer to supporting its promise to end a Tale of Two Cities. Our future can be integrated and a decision like this begins to clear a pathway for just that. We look forward to continuing our advocacy to ensure this decision leads to enriched and inclusive opportunities for all of NYC’s students,” said Nyah Berg, interim executive director of NY Appleseed.
“Today is a historic day, a day of reckoning and acknowledgement marking tangible steps towards ending the tail of two cities in the largest urban public school district in the nation. Today, Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Porter were able to actualize years of dedication, commitment, and effort by numerous parents, families, and advocates across the city who have been fighting for equitable access to education for Black, Brown, and poor children for decades. We cannot heal what we do not acknowledge, and this announcement today is the first step towards disrupting and dismantling the ideologies of white supremacy and classism that have kept this system segregated for so long. I am proud to have made a small contribution towards the decision announced today and I look forward to the new administration picking up the mantle to re-examine and re-imagine equitable access for quality education in NYC,” said Dr. Shannon R. Waite, Visiting Assistant Professor, Howard University and former Mayoral Appointee to the Panel for Educational Policy.
“This announcement is a great step forward in creating better quality gifted education and a more equitable education system at the same time. The city's investments in teacher training will bring a much needed focus on ensuring our educators can serve and challenge advanced learners. At the same time, shifting to a system focused on differentiation within mixed-ability classrooms, delaying identification for specific gifted services until third grade, and using multiple measures to identify students will all help ensure that enrichment is available to a diverse group of students in integrated classroom settings,” said Halley Potter, Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation.