The country's largest district heads back to school today! We'll be providing you with updates throughout the day. Make sure you follow Reema as she tours the five boroughs with the mayor and chancellor is what is a long-running tradition in New York City.
Also take some time to read up on our coverage priorities for the new year, and let us know what you want to read about.
Plus: catch up on the latest pushback against a proposal to eliminate gifted programs and read about some surprising research about Chicago's specialized schools.
Happy first day!
— Christina Veiga, Chalkbeat
YEAR AHEAD Here’s what Chalkbeat will be covering this new school year — and what we want to hear from you. Chalkbeat
DEBATING G&T A group of city council members is calling on the city to preserve gifted programs and expand them — but also acknowledges opportunities to rethink admission to the programs. Chalkbeat, New York Daily News
Maya Wiley, who helped lead the advisory group that proposed revamping gifted programs, explained why members think the current iteration has to go. WNYC
Staten Island officials also came out against eliminating the programs. Staten Island Advance
In some of his first comments on the proposal, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that communities of color have pushed for more gifted programs, but said there’s “a bigger question of where we need to go in the future.” NY1
BABY STEPS Opinion: A middle school integration plan in Brooklyn’s District 15 is a small but important step towards more diverse classrooms, Councilman Brad Lander writes. BuzzFeed
LESSONS LEARNED Desegregation efforts in Nashville provide an important lesson for New York City. Washington Post
DRIVE SAFELY Back to school means speed cameras are up and running. Here’s what drivers need to know. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
HEAVY METAL Worries about lead paint loom as students head back to school. Gothamist
DESIGNING DIVERSITY The leaders of a new Brooklyn private school explains why and how it plans to enroll a diverse student body. The 74
RESEARCH SAYS New research shows Chicago’s specialized high schools may be harming academic outcomes for disadvantaged students. The 74
E-CIGS BAN Opinion: After hearing reports from students as young as middle schoolers that their peers are smoking e-cigarettes on campus, Councilman Mark Levine says the city should ban flavored nicotine. New York Daily News
SOUND OFF A parent in District 2 says the diversity advisory group didn’t hear feedback from parents who support competitive admissions standards in schools. New York Daily News
WHAT NEXT? Opinion: Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s assurance that gifted programs aren’t going anywhere in the immediate term is little comfort to parents, given his critical comments in the past. New York Post
WORDS OF ADVICE Opinion: An essay provided to new hires called “Dear White Teacher” provides valuable advice about not being worried about being labeled racist for disciplining students. New York Post
WELCOME BACK The new school year starts with a focus on racial equity, persisting challenges for students with disabilities, and the end of the city’s Renewal program to help turn around struggling schools. New York Post