On March 6 the PTA of PS 122 held a massive rally that filled the school’s auditorium with concerned parents, teachers, kids, educators and legislators. The reason: the Department of Education’s proposed changes to a Gifted and Talented Academy that has been a successful model for similar programs for the past 25 years. Instead of supporting and expanding the Academy, the DOE has proposed to eventually limit the number of seats available to gifted students.
In this time of global competition in a shrinking world stage, when we are constantly told that the USA’s position is precarious and that we are falling behind in so many fields necessary to a productive future, we are throwing away a proven incubator of talented minds. Gifted individuals who will be our future leaders, like all our children, need to be encouraged and nourished, not told that they are expendable.
I speak from personal experience about the G & T program because I attended 122 as a child and was, luckily, a part of the SP (Special Progress) program, which was prophetically enough, the precursor to what is today Gifted and Talented. The attention, specialized classes and camaraderie between like-minded students and teachers helped us all foster and realize goals that were to set a scholastic and life foundation that helped us and our families achieve way beyond that particular time in our lives.
So again, I ask, as I did that night, speaking as a concerned parent, neighbor, community activist and candidate for City Council for our district, that the DOE keep the Academy on the same path that it has successfully been on for the past 25 years —that it allow our children the opportunity to continue to excel so that they may guide our neighborhood, our city, our country and indeed the world to a better future through quality education. Let us, together, make sure that Gifted and Talented does not become Gifted and Forgotten.