Education Opinion

The Upper West Side Relief Act of 2008 (Or: More on Gifted Admissions in NYC)

By Eduwonkette — April 17, 2008 2 min read

Upper West Side kids face obstacles, folks - sometimes there are two Bugaboo strollers blocking their path to the Elephant Playground at 76rd and Riverside. Joel Klein recognized their struggle against adversity, and gently tweaked the gifted and talented admissions rules to open the door of opportunity for all (Manhattan) kids.

Make no mistake - NYC’s poorer community school districts lost out under the new gifted and talented admissions process. On Monday, I discussed the change in gifted seats by district, but some readers asked for the overall percentage of kids in each district that are classified as gifted.

Let’s look at the numbers for this school year first. We see that some districts, like Brooklyn’s District 22 or the Upper West Side’s District 3, have very high proportions of students in the entry grade classified as gifted (23.8% and 13.8%, respectively). On the other end, East Harlem’s District 4 and the South Bronx’s District 7 have no students in the entry grade classified as gifted.

Percentage of Students Classified as Gifted and Talented in Entry Grade, 2007

I then estimated the percentage of students that will be classified as gifted in the entry grade if all students matriculated in gifted programs. These estimates are necessarily imprecise in two ways - first, because all students will not enroll in NYC gifted programs and thus we will overestimate gifted populations in districts with high private school sending rates, and second, because the true cohort size is not available, so the best we can do is use this year’s cohort size as the denominator. Caveats aside, these estimates do offer insight into the effects of the new gifted policy.

What we see in the map below is that Districts 2 and 3 in Manhattan have especially large increases in the proportion of students classified as gifted - from 13.8 to 22.3% in District 3 and from 7.1 to 15.2% in District 2. Hence, the Upper West Side/Manhattan Relief Act of 2008. And as expected, the districts with higher proportions of free lunch kids have fewer kids classified as gifted in both 2007 and 2008, but many of these districts fall further back because of the GT policy change. (See Robert Pondiscio’s post for implications.)

Percentage of Students Classified as Gifted and Talented in Entry Grade, 2008

You can find the full figures for 2007 and 2008 below. Overall, the big winner in entry grade seats is Manhattan, and Brooklyn and the Bronx lost the most.

On behalf of all Manhattan residents, I’d like to thank the Department of Education for helping us pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. It’s rough out here!

Percentage of Students Classified as Gifted and Talented, 2007 and 2008

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