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Eric Adams’ camp says he might save gifted and talented program day after de Blasio cancels program


New York City Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams camp hinted he would reverse outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial decision to cancel a popular citywide accelerated learning program for children four and up. 

A spokesperson for Adams, the frontrunner to win the overwhelmingly Democratic city in November, said the current Brooklyn borough president ‘has said consistently he would keep the Gifted and Talented test and provide more resources, classes and support to lower-income students to ensure fairer outcomes,’ adding his ‘position hasn’t changed.’

The spokesperson declined to say outright if Adams would reverse de Blasio’s decision to scrap the longtime program, which the lame duck said ‘discriminates against black and Hispanic students.’ 

De Blasio drew widespread criticism after announcing his plan to end the city’s Gifted and Talented program, which his supporters argued is highly segregated and only benefited well off white and Asian students.    

 The rep said that Eric Adams, pictured, ‘has said he would keep the G and T test, provide more resources, classes and support to lower-income students to ensure fairer outcomes’

Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has axed the city's gifted and talented schools program because he says it discriminates against black and Hispanic kids

Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has axed the city’s gifted and talented schools program because he says it discriminates against black and Hispanic kids 

Among those critics were Adams and Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, pictured, who have gone on records stating the don't want the program eliminated entirely

Among those critics were Adams and Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, pictured, who have gone on records stating the don’t want the program eliminated entirely

Meanwhile, parents and teachers raged at the move, saying it punishes gifted children and holds them back. 

Joining the chorus were Adams’ Republican mayoral rival Curtis Sliwa, who has gone on record stating he does not want the program eliminated. 

‘The Asian community is being targeted because they’re following the rules; they are successful in achieving academic excellence; their families and communities are motivated to take advantage of G&T, to take advantage of the specialized high schools,’ Sliwa said. 

The Guardian Angels founder voiced even more support for the initiative, calling de Blasio a ‘lame duck’ on Saturday while adding he would expand admissions into the Gifted and Talented program. 

About 2,500 kindergarteners are accepted to schools around the city to the program if they pass a specialized exam. 

Children who did join the program had to do so by passing an exam, which has an about 2,500 students yearly

Children who did join the program had to do so by passing an exam, which has an about 2,500 students yearly

De Blasio's solution is to put the gifted kids in regular classrooms which critics say will only increase class size, spread teachers' thin and harm all of the kids' progress (file image)

De Blasio’s solution is to put the gifted kids in regular classrooms which critics say will only increase class size, spread teachers’ thin and harm all of the kids’ progress (file image)

Sliwa also accused Adams of ‘vacillat(ing)’ on the accelerated learning program issue, which Adams’ spokesman called a ‘lie.’

As outlined by de Blasio on Friday, current students in the program will remain in their schools until the completion of the school year, however new recruits would be done away with for the fall of 2022 – ending all testing for children four and under. 

The Gifted and Talented program will be replaced by Brilliant NYC, a different program to be rolled out in December – the mayor’s final month in office – and will offer students eight and up the opportunity for advanced and accelerated learning without having to leave their existing classrooms.   

The city’s Department of Education said teachers will identify students that are ready academically for the new program, while still doing away with the high-stakes testing, with some parents going so far as to have paid tutors for to better help their children prepare for it. 

Meanwhile, parents and teachers say ending the program in its current state will create more problems for students: the gifted kids will be bored and slowed down in classrooms of mixed ability, and those who need more attention will be ‘left behind,’ they say. 

The mayor's plan lets current students stay in the program until the completion of the school year, but new ones will be done away with fall 2022, ending tests for kids four and under

The mayor’s plan lets current students stay in the program until the completion of the school year, but new ones will be done away with fall 2022, ending tests for kids four and under

A spokesperson for Adams, who's the frontrunner for the citywide race, did decline to say outright if Adams would make any changes that de Blasio makes to the initiative

A spokesperson for Adams, who’s the frontrunner for the citywide race, did decline to say outright if Adams would make any changes that de Blasio makes to the initiative

Students were being accepted to the special Talented and Gifted (TAG) schools after passing a standardized test at the age of four. In some parts of the city that are predominantly black and Hispanic, fewer kids were passing the tests, so the schools closed.

De Blasio did met immediately respond to inquiries regarding his opinion on his successors own plans for the city’s accelerated learning program, according to the New York Post. 

The newspaper said the mayor ignored a Post reporter who asked him about his plan to remove the Gifted and Talented initiative at an unrelated event in Brooklyn on Saturday. 

One mother of a student of the outgoing program was vocal in her criticism for de Blasio’s decision to do away with it, yelling at him ‘what’s up with Gifted and Talented?’ 

‘Why is it that kids can’t get enough space just to go to school to get equal opportunities for education?’ she said as the mayor turned his head to ignore her. 

‘I don’t understand it.’ 



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