AACE Condemns New York City’s “Desegregation” Plan to Eliminate Gifted Programs and Academic Selection

By | August 29, 2019

For Immediate Release

August 29, 2019

Livingston, New Jersey: On August 26, 2019, the School Diversity Advisory Group, an expert panel commissioned by the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced a drastic proposal to phase out gifted programs in most of the city’s public schools and to abolish admissions screening based on standardized tests. The Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) vehemently denounces this reform as an insidious move to politicize our nation’s largest school district and a vicious example of “dumbing down” all American children under the cloak of diversity with detrimental effects on our national competitiveness in the world.

The new “desegregation” plan recommended by the School Diversity Advisory Group is tantamount to a blanket attack on the meritocracy upon which gifted education all over the world has relied, in all levels of the city’s education system. In kindergartens and elementary schools, the group’s report suggests substituting gifted and talented programs with non-selective magnet schools and other school choice programs. This measure will abolish rigorous academic tracking and standardized testing in order to accommodate subjective teacher recommendations and report cards. Regarding the screening process among competitive middle schools, the group wants to eliminate academic selection such as grades, attendance, and test scores, adopting a lottery model instead. In high school admissions, with the exception of the controversial selection of specialized high schools, the group advises Mayor de Blasio to place a moratorium on academic criteria and to devise diversity admissions that reflect each borough’s racial and socioeconomic makeups.

This proposal prioritizes political correctness over educational excellence by racializing gifted programs and academic selection. Claiming New York’s gifted and talented programs have “too many” Asian-American students whose families are often among the city’s socioeconomically disadvantaged, the advisory group and its appointer Mayor de Blasio are deliberately stifling the already tense relations among minority groups. The peculiar point of bypassing the controversial issue of admissions to the Specialized High Schools so as to avoid state involvement showcases the very political nature of this project.

Moreover, the proposed reform washes down academic standards and replaces achievement with identity politics. In this alarming era of American students lagging behind their international peers in math, science and literacy, eliminating gifted education in New York City sets a dangerous trend of dumbing down American students. At a time when “only 16% of AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science) and 29% of the general public rank U.S. STEM education for grades K-12 ad above average or the best in the world”, de-emphasizing academics will only further jeopardize our nation’s economic and technological leadership in the world.

AACE president, Mr. Yukong Zhao said: “We strongly oppose New York City’s recent proposal of rolling back its gifted programs and ending academic screening. If objective academic measurements no longer serve a purpose in talent selection, the government will surely fail its duties to properly select and educate our students to their full capacity and to tap into their greatest talents. Hundreds of thousands of gifted children from the Asian-American and all other communities stand to lose the most from this politically motivated, racist proposal!”

Asian American Coalition for Education

Dr. Wenyuan Wu
, telephone: (786) 393-8028, email: admin@asianamericanforeducation.org.

Ms. Swann Lee, telephone: (617) 906-6380, email: swanleeca@gmail.com.

About the AACE:  www.asianamericanforeducation.org

The Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is a non-political, nonprofit, grassroots national organization, the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal educational rights. On May 15, 2015, the founders of AACE united 64 Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that they conduct investigations into Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. As the largest joint action taken by Asian-American communities over the last few decades, this complaint is now being investigated by the Justice Department. Over the years, we have advanced the cause of equal education rights for the Asian-American community.