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View of a hallway of a typical American high school. There are yellow walls and a double set of doors.

NYC & The Fight for Educational Equity

educational equity equity social justice teachers Oct 09, 2021

The elimination of the NYC gifted and talented (GT) program is an important move in education to observe, because it sets an important precedent for the fight toward educational equity. The main issues, as reported, on why the GT program is harmful and inequitable, includes that it sustains segregation, which of course means unequal access to quality education. 


In the Past

  • Parents could offer teachers gifts and incentives to recommend their child to the GT program. And of course we need not ask ourselves who knows how to navigate that and who can afford it. 
  • You would get assessed at 4 years old, via a single test, and that determines the rest of your academic career. 
  • There was a racial disparity where the GT students were primarily Asian and White due to our racial biases. Consider this thread by Michael Harriot, author & historian, who tells his own story (coupled with research and facts) about his experience in the GT program. 

Moving Forward

  • The new program, “Brilliant NYC”, does away with the single test
  • The new program aims to offer quality educational opportunities to all students 


Of course, we should be hesitant and vigilant since in the past minimal efforts actually helped us and our kids. We also have to think about whether or not the structures in current NYC education (curriculum & teacher training) exist that would support this positive shift effectively. There’s already a lot of hesitation


What This Means For the Rest of Us 

  1. It demonstrates that districts and cities can actually make changes. They can actually stop programs that are harmful. 
  2. Parents and community members have a voice. In NYC, they had been advocating for changes for many years and demanding improvements. We cannot let up. We must press on and forward. 

In our current anti-CRT climate, we should take some inspiration from this NYC decision. Although it feels like these ignorant people demanding that we teach lies and Whiteness are winning some battles, they haven’t won the war. 

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