Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. on Monday 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.
Adams said the newly-created task force will comprised 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, Adams said.
Both borough presidents have been outspoken about the dearth of gifted and talented programs in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“Gifted and talented children live in communities from Park Slope to Port Morris, from Bedford Park to Brownsville,” Adams said. “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,” he added.
Diaz said that, “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.
“We cannot send our children to Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, and Brooklyn Tech if they are not prepared,” he said. “And we cannot expect them to be prepared if they do not have the same advantages that are offered to other communities. Our children lack gifted programs and adequate test prep resources, among other things, and the results are crystal clear. Through this task force, we will work to change that.”
The task force will comprise both borough presidents, as well as three parent leaders from each borough.
Adams’ appointees 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.
Diaz’s appointees are: Stephen Francisco, a member of CEC District 10; Nancy Kheck, a member of CEC District 11; and Katie Sperling of the Parent Alliance for Collaborative Education (PACE).