As sure as tis the season for The New York Times to write their annual, "Have You Noticed There Aren't a Lot of Minority Students in the NYC Specialized High Schools?" piece, it's also time for their equally perennial, "Have You Noticed There Aren't a Lot of Minority Students in the NYC K-5 Gifted & Talented Programs?" follow up.
The latest verse in this same old song came out this past weekend, and focused on PS 163 on the Upper West Side.
There are 652 students enrolled at P.S. 163 this year, from prekindergarten through fifth grade. Roughly 63 percent of them are black and Hispanic; whites make up 27 percent; and Asians account for 6 percent.
This reflects the flavor of the neighborhood, and roughly matches the New York City school system’s overall demographics.
Yet in P.S. 163’s gifted classes, the racial dynamics of the neighborhood, the school itself and the school system are turned upside down.
Of the 205 children enrolled in the nine gifted classes, 97, or 47 percent, are white; another 31 of the students, or 15 percent, are Asian. And a combined 65 students, or 32 percent, are black and Hispanic.
In the 21 other classes that enroll the school’s remaining 447 students, only 80, or 18 percent, are white.
In related news, they are shocked - shocked! - to learn that there is gambling going on in Casablanca.
The G&T disparity, however, isn't news to anyone who follows the New York City school system on even the most superficial level.
The NY Gifted Education Examiner has written in the past about the DOE's racial problem, and about their less than thrilling solution instituted for next September. A new test, we are told, will fix everything.
Highly unlikely, since it was the new test a few years ago which made G&T placement an all-city rather than school by school affair, which exacerbated the problem in the first place.
Meanwhile, private schools continue to actively recruit the best and the brightest minority students, while middle class parents hire tutors and consultants to help their youngsters score in the necessary top percentiles.
On the other hand, even if they do score highly, there aren't enough seats for every student who qualifies, anyway.
Oh, and research suggests there may not be any added value to a Gifted & Talented program, in any case.
Click all of the above links for more details, and click here for an interview with a parent whose child attends PS 163's G&T class.