QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to questions about recently imposed changes by the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to the District 30 Gifted & Talented (G&T) Middle School enrollment process, effectively discontinuing the automatic articulation for K-8 schools into the middle school G&T program:
“Parents make life decisions based on assurances by the DOE. To offer reasonable predictability for parents and students having planned their education, new policies for G&T enrollment programs should be prospectively applied to the following year’s incoming kindergarten class. It would be fair to allow all current students in the G&T programs in District 30 to continue so that they may auto-articulate into their own middle school and continue through 8th grade. While it is important to expand equal access to G&T programs, it is equally important to honor commitments made to parents.”
The DOE, however, recently issued a change in the District 30 G&T Middle School enrollment process, discontinuing the automatic articulation from an elementary school G&T program to its middle school G&T program.
In a letter to Chancellor Carmen Fariña yesterday, Borough President Katz outlined the concerns raised by parents and called for the new policy to be applied for next year’s incoming kindergarten class. The text of Borough President Katz’s letter is below in-full:
December 19, 2016
Chancellor Carmen Fariña
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street, Room 320
New York, NY 10007-1222
Dear Chancellor Fariña:
I am writing regarding Community Education Council 30’s Resolution #123, which seeks to implement changes to D30 Gifted & Talented policies. Parents whose children are enrolled in P.S. 122Q have been reaching out to my office to express their strong opposition to any change in the current policy of allowing current students to auto-articulate into the middle school G&T. In addition, I have seen correspondence on this issue from other elected officials including the Chairwoman of the New York State Assembly Education Committee, the Honorable Cathy Nolan.
Changes in policy, like this important one, should at the bare minimum be discussed first with affected communities. Our parents make life decisions based on assurances of current policies by the Department of Education. Parents who have reached out to my office have expressed the position that they chose P.S. 122Q for their children primarily because of the auto-articulation into middle school. Families moved into apartments and purchased homes in consideration of their children’s education. Others have adopted commutes that last up to two hours to take their children to school. Students at P.S. 122Q are held to high standards, for as long as they excel within the G&T curriculum, they should be able to pursue the K-8 education at the school.
If there is to be a change in policy, the new policy should be applied for next year’s incoming kindergarten class, and all current students in the G&T program in P.S. 122Q should be allowed to continue so that the students can auto-articulate into their own middle school. The Department of Education assured P.S. 122Q parents in 2013 that their children would auto-articulate through 8th grade at the school. The K-8 nature of the G&T program was repeatedly reinforced by the Chancellor and Department of Education, leaving parents with the understanding that their investments and commitments would be honored.
While it is important to expand equal access to Gifted & Talented programs, it is equally important to honor commitments made to parents who chose to entrust the education of their children to public schools. I appreciate your attention to this matter and I look forward to your response.
Borough of Queens
cc: Dr. Philip A. Composto, Superintendent, District 30
Deborah Alexander, Valerie Lamour, Co-Presidents, Community Education Council District 30
Members, Community Education Council District 30
Michael Morrissey, Queens Borough Director, NYC DOE Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Sharif Soliman, Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of State Legislative Affairs
Hon. Michael N. Gianaris, 12th District, New York State Senate
Hon. Catherine Nolan, District 37, New York State Assembly
Hon. Aravella Simotas, District 36, New York State Assembly
Hon. Costa Constantinides, District 22, New York City Council