BY JOE MARVILLI
The Dept. of Education has decided that this year’s Gifted and Talented students will be grandfathered into the program.
The DOE backed down from a controversial plan for the G&T program, which would have forced elementary school students in District 26 to reapply for middle school seats rather than automatically continuing in the program.
After much protest from parents who said they were not given enough notice for this change, the agency changed its mind and decided to guarantee middle school admission for fifth graders registered in G&T.
“We know that schools can only succeed when the needs of families are heard and addressed,” DOE deputy press secretary Harry Hartfield said. “We decided to make changes to the proposal in order it more equitable for everyone, and we will monitor this change in future years to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the community and district overall.”
District 26 and District 30 are the only two in the City that promise students continued spots in the G&T program from the elementary to the middle school level. At the Community District Education Council 26 meeting on Jan. 30, many parents were furious about the potential change, as they had partially decided on where to live because of the program’s assurances. The DOE was supposed to attend the meeting but no representatives showed up, leaving parents fuming and without answers.
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Hillcrest), who worked with U.S. Rep Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) to resolve the issue, said the reversal was a big victory for parents and students alike.
“We pushed really hard with families, advocates and strong parents who would not take no for an answer,” she said.
The CEC will hold an emergency meeting in the next couple of weeks with the DOE to further clarify the G&T policy for District 26.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.