• September 19, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Pols seek more diverse Gifted and Talented ed.

Rozic, Stavisky introduce legislation

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:10 pm, Thu Sep 19, 2019.

When a mayoral panel last month suggested abolishing city elementary schools’ Gifted and Talented programs, critics said the proposal wasn’t the right way to fight segregation in the education system, its stated goal. Some lawmakers and advocates countered by saying that the initiative should be made available to all students.

And a new bill carried by two Queens officials intends to make that idea a reality.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) have introduced legislation that would make city school districts test all students for the Gifted and Talented programs, unless their parent or guardian opts out.

“New York City’s Gifted and Talented Program allows for children who benefit from an accelerated learning experience an opportunity to be challenged in the classroom,” Stavisky said. “This legislation would increase diversity throughout the Gifted and Talented Program and include more students from under-represented populations.”

The senator, a retired teacher who chairs the Higher Education Committee, also sits on the Education and New York City Education committees.

In 2015, the school board of Broward County, Fla. published a report showing that 643 second-graders who hadn’t previously been identified as gifted met criteria for gifted services. Eighty-four percent of the kids in question came from underrepresented groups.

“All students deserve educational opportunities and it is my hope that by broadening access more students will enroll and benefit from accelerated school instruction,” Rozic said in her own statement. “With the start of the new school year, our school system should take this opportunity to broaden the gateways for students and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the educational services they deserve.”

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