City Councilmember Robert Cornegy was outside Public School 26 Wednesday morning, greeting students on their first day of classes.
The occasion? He was there to celebrate the successful outcome of a long initiative to get a Gifted and Talented (G&T) program back in Bed-Stuy. The inaugural program will be introduced to 16 third-graders at P.S. 26, Jesse Owens School.
[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”It seems that at third grade you can get a better grasp of what a child has. We understand that so test prep and creating a pipeline for Gifted and Talented is what we we’re attempting to do,” noted Councilman Cornegy.[/perfectpullquote]
The initiative, spearheaded by the Black Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC), was a joint effort by those in District 16’s Community Education Council, Community Board 3, and many others, including the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) who provided test prep to applying students . Community members were called on for their support.
Community Education Council 16 President Nequan Mclean said that the program was the result of a process that began in November 2015 when CEC 16 first petitioned the Department of Education. The program only became certain in March.
But Cornegy said this is only the first step: He emphasized the continued fight for education equity and the importance of creating a pipeline for students to enter Gifted and Talented programs and get entrance into the specialized high school.
He noted that BLAC has two more phases in mind for G&T. One, that grades as well as test scores are taken into consideration for entrance into specialized high schools. And two, that G&T testing at the Pre-K level becomes opt-out rather than an opt-in choice.
“The test that was offered in kindergarten seemed to us somewhat culturally biased because it was really based on vocabulary and those kinds of things,” said Cornegy. “It seems that at third grade you can get a better grasp of what a child has. We understand that so test prep and creating a pipeline for Gifted and Talented is what we we’re attempting to do.”
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