Looking a Gifted Horse in the Mouth (Village Voice)

When the New York City Department of Education announced last fall that it would start admitting schoolkids to gifted and talented classes solely on the basis of standardized tests, it said the new system would be fairer to all. Initial reports show it isn’t exactly working out that way:

Brooklyn mom Natalie Barratt had a bad feeling when her four-year-old son Luke Serrano emerged from his February testing session for admittance to the city schools’ gifted and talented programs. “The teacher who had administered the test wasn’t clear if he’d finished the test,” she recalls. After weeks of phone calls with the Department of Education, she had Luke retested. His score this time: an 89, one point too low for acceptance into a G&T kindergarten class. For want of a single correct answer, Luke was officially non-gifted.

In past years, this would have been just one setback in the tangled swirl of bureaucracy and arm-twisting that is commonplace in navigating the city’s Department of Education. This year, however, is different… [read more]