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IBO: City gifted programs can’t serve most eligible students

The city’s education data watchdog has confirmed what families have long experienced: Meeting the eligibility bar for city gifted programs is no guarantee of admission.

In fact, the Independent Budget Office noted in a blog post today, the city offered only 2,200 slots in gifted and talented programs in 2013, even though 5,400 children met the standard for admission by scoring at the 90th percentile or higher on a screening exam.

“This gap between the number of students meeting the official criteria and the spots available has meant that in recent years most of the G&T programs can only accommodate students ranking closest to the 99th percentile,” the post says.

Because children in wealthier parts of the city qualify at a much higher rate than children in poor neighborhoods, and more frequently score at the highest levels, the gap also means that the city’s gifted programs serve a much more affluent student population than the city’s schools as a whole.

When parents have petitioned her for more seats, Chancellor Carmen Fariña has downplayed gifted programs, emphasizing that all schools should be prepared to serve gifted students well. But she has not made any changes to them.