(l to r): Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

On Monday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced the creation of a new task force to study issues surrounding gifted and talented education in New York City public schools, as well as the admissions process for the city’s specialized high schools.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”We cannot expect them to be prepared if they do not have the same advantages that are offered to other communities.”[/perfectpullquote]

Both Adams and Diaz have been outspoken about the dearth of gifted and talented programs and inadequate test prep resources in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods that fail to prepare children with high aptitude to compete in specialized high schools. The task force hopes to change that.

“Gifted and talented children live in communities from Park Slope to Port Morris, from Bedford Park to Brownsville,” said Borough President Adams. “Unfortunately, our students’ home addresses are playing too heavy a role in their access to high-quality specialized education that taps into their full academic potential. This task force will uproot the causes of these challenges and lay out a road map for a more equitable and prosperous system.”

Kindergarten at TAG Young Scholars in Manhattan, which serves mostly minority students.
Photo: Ruby Washington, The New York Times

The newly created task force will be comprised of government officials, community members and parents who are familiar with the issues gifted students face in New York City schools.  The task force will host public hearings in March, and will release a set of recommendations for the future of gifted education in New York City. 

“For too long, students in communities all over the city — such as the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn — have been denied the opportunities that their counterparts in other boroughs have been provided when it comes to gifted and talented programs,” said Borough President Diaz. “We cannot send our children to Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech if they are not prepared. And we cannot expect them to be prepared if they do not have the same advantages that are offered to other communities.”

First Grade G&T sample test question

Borough President Adams’s task force appointees from Brooklyn are Nikki Lucas, a parent at JHS 88 Peter Rouget; Melanie Mendonca, president of Community Education Council (CEC) District 23, and Ralph Yozzo, a member of CEC District 16.

“Gifted and talented programs are very important to help our children be all that they can be,” said Yozzo. “We need to have a wide range of programs because our children have a wide range of abilities. The gifted and talented programs also give parents choices that they might not have without the program.”

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