Adams offers more clues on his plans for NYC’s gifted and talented program, if elected mayor

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A week after Mayor de Blasio announced plans to scrap the city’s gifted and talented program in public schools, his likely successor Eric Adams said he’d expand the existing program significantly.

Until Friday, Adams has offered only vague remarks on how he’d handle so-called gifted and talented education, with some interpreting his words as aligned with the mayor and others viewing them as more of a departure.

But on Friday, Adams offered more detail.

Instead of having families sign up for gifted and talented tests, which typically occurs when children are four, he would instead make the tests the norm, with an option for parents to opt-out.

He also vowed to expand the program to under-served neighborhoods and said he’d offer the test more frequently and not just when kids are four.

“We should allow all children to opt-out of taking the test. That’s number one,” he said Friday morning on CNN. “Number two, we need to expand. The gifted and talented program was isolated to only certain communities. That created segregation in our classroom. And then we need to test our children throughout their educational experience — not only at age four, age six, age 10 — let’s continue to test them as well.”

Adams, a Democrat who now serves as Brooklyn borough president, is considered a virtual shoo-in to become the next mayor. He’s facing long-shot Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa in this November’s election.

De Blasio’s plan to do away with the current gifted and talented program would replace it with accelerated learning for every elementary school student. Under the city’s current policy, kindergarten kids who score high enough on the test are eligible for gifted and talented slots and can then opt into those classrooms and schools.

But that test was scrapped last year due to the pandemic — and it would be permanently done away with under de Blasio’s new plan.

De Blasio’s term ends in December, though, which means his plan would be left to the next mayor to actually implement. And Adams does not appear to be onboard.

“He can’t rid of it till next year. There’s a new mayor next year,” he said when asked if he’d restore the program if de Blasio scraps it. “That mayor must evaluate how he’s going to deal with the gifted and talented program. There’s nothing to put back into place because the next mayor must make the determination.”

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