Despite considerable attention, New York City’s gifted and talented programs remain starkly segregated by race and class. While black and Hispanic students make up about 70 percent of the student body, they comprise only 27 percent of gifted enrollment.
This week, the Bronx and Brooklyn borough presidents launched a task force to look into equity issues within gifted programs, as well as in the city’s elite specialized high schools.
“Unfortunately, our students’ home addresses are playing too heavy a role in their access to high-quality specialized education that taps into their full academic potential,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said in a statement.
Using 2015-16 data, Chalkbeat looked at where students are most likely to be enrolled in gifted programs in elementary schools. The differences from district to district are stark.
The top three districts for gifted enrollment are all in Manhattan. District 1 on the Lower East Side leads the pack by far, with about 12 percent of all students in gifted programs, compared to a citywide average of 2.5 percent. That’s largely because the district is home to New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math, a gifted school that admits students from across the city. (There are five citywide gifted schools, three of which are in Manhattan. None is as large as NEST+m, which has roughly 700 students.)
Next on the list: District 2, which stretches from Lower Manhattan to the Upper East Side, and District 3, which includes the Upper West Side and part of Harlem. More than seven percent of students there are in gifted programs.
Of those districts with gifted programs, District 9 in the Bronx had the fewest students enrolled: Only 55 students out of more than 26,000 in the district.
Districts 7 and 12 in the Bronx, and Districts 16 and 23 in Central Brooklyn did not have gifted programs last school year. The city launched new classes in those districts during the current school year. An additional gifted program has also been added in District 3, after parents threatened to pull out of the school system during a controversial school rezoning.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information on District 1.