NYC Puts Diversity Goals Ahead of Fostering Academic Excellence

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The big news from New York City this week is a plan to do away with the city’s gifted program, which helps more than a million public school children reach the limits of their academic potential. The reason? Well, there are apparently “too many” whites and Asians in the gifted track, attending special schools and programs while the rest of the public school system is left to cater to mostly black and Hispanic children. And because Mayor Bill de Blasio finds it more important to “de-segregate” the New York City Public School system than to foster academic excellence among those children who demonstrate it, the program has to be scrapped.

A panel appointed by de Blasio is recommending that the mayor’s office do just that, and since the flailing 2020 Democratic presidential contender has made forced diversity a major component of his mayoral platform, there’s little reason to believe that he won’t take their advice.

From the NY Times:

Mr. de Blasio, who has staked his mayoralty on reducing inequality, has the power to adopt some or all of the proposals without input from the State Legislature or City Council. If he does, the decision would fundamentally reshape a largely segregated school system and could reverberate in school districts across the country.

The mayor will now be thrust into the center of a sensitive debate about race and class at home, even as he is straining to stand out in a crowded field of Democratic contenders for president.

He risks alienating tens of thousands of mostly white and Asian families whose children are enrolled in the gifted programs and selective schools. If a substantial number of those families leave the system, it would be even more difficult to achieve integration.

The proposals, contained in a report to be released on Tuesday, may also face opposition from some middle-class black and Hispanic families that have called for more gifted programs in mostly minority neighborhoods as a way to offer students of color more access to high-quality schools.

What an idea! Instead of flushing gifted programs down the toilet because they resemble “segregation” (which, as we all know, had nothing to do with separating children by their intellectual merits), why not open up more programs and outreach in underserved communities? Lift the bar all around instead of lowering the bar because of the optics. Or, in this case, simply throwing the bar into the East River.

The United States did not become the number one country in the world by leveling the playing field in this sort of unnatural, forced way. It got to the top of the pile with a competitive system that rewarded excellence, hard work, and results. Now we want to throw that away because…why? Because it makes us feel gushy inside?

We’re headed down a grim path.