in New York City Schools

Lynda Watkins-Turner






What do you think of when you think of someone being “gifted?” Are you “gifted?” Is it something you are born with, or can you become “gifted?”

The Gifted Program in New York City is an exclusive program for students who test in the above average range of intelligence. In recent years it has come under scrutiny (question) for its selection process. Questions arose, such as: WHO is eligible? Is it a fair selection process if there are not enough African-American and/or Hispanic students represented in these programs? Lack of representation has become an issue to the point where over the last few months, the former Mayor of the City of New York, Bill DeBlasio, had proposed eliminating the entire Gifted Program due to the inequities (unfairness) in the selection process.



2 Groups will be formed:


The Groups will be formed Randomly (WITHOUT Discrimination or bias)

Group #1: The students will complete a survey on what information should be included in an entrance exam for Gifted students. They will then brainstorm together to make a mock Entrance Exam to a Gifted Program.

Group #2: The students will take the test created by Group#1.



    The students will then switch and Group #2 will design the mock Gifted Test and Group #1 will take the test.

    After both of the Groups have taken the mock test. The teacher, who is neutral, will compile the results.

    Once the results are compiled, there will be a meeting and we will discuss what we think of the outcomes.

We will all then look at the criteria for enrollment for an actual Gifted Program with graphs to visualize WHO is actually being chosen in these programs and why?

Questions to consider: Is there a bias?



·       https://ny.chalkbeat.org/2019/9/12/21121778/we-are-gifted-education-scholars-here-s-why-we-don-t-think-nyc-should-follow-the-school-diversity-gr

·       https://edsource.org/updates/equity-proves-elusive-in-gifted-programs-research-shows

·       https://edjacent.org/why-gifted-programs-lack-diversity/

Why are minority students underrepresented in gifted programs?

One cause for the gaps is a lack of student referrals from educators. Black students are 66 percent less likely to be referred to gifted programs in math and reading than their white classmates, according to a 2016 study by researchers from Vanderbilt University. Jan 4, 2017

·       https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-building-better-gifted-talented-20211001-hkkuvqnjxfb6rl6w57ar3f2m7e-story.html

·       https://www.testingmom.com/tests/gifted-talented-nyc/test/


The Public Policy Analyst (PPA)will be completed after each step.

The PPA is a 6-step program, each step requires a worksheet. We will complete a step a day (6 steps one for every day.)

Let’s begin!


Links to PPA Worksheets

1.  Define the Problem: Worksheet#1

2.  Gather the Evidence: Worksheet #2

3.  Identify the Causes: Worksheet #3

4.  Evaluate an Existing Policy: Worksheet #4

5.  Develop Solutions: Worksheet #5

6.  Select the Best Solution: Worksheet#6  (Feasibility vs. Effectiveness)


1. Define the Problem: “Defining a problem is a deceptively simple task - what at first seems to be the problem is often merely a symptom of a deeper problem.”



2.Gather Evidence: (See Argument and Worksheet Below)

Here’s a template for practice

ARGUMENT: Some New York City Schools Use Discriminatory Practices for Placement (of Students.)

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 3.21.15 PM

3.Identify the Causes (See Worksheet Below)


4.Evaluate Existing Causes (See Worksheet)        https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Pr6DGQg2N-BxblefW0qQ0ABdjpI5mIaAJjwGQN3ySgg/edit

5.Develop Solutions (See Worksheet)

6.Select the Best Solution


STEP #6:







* Feasibility is defined as the state of something being possible



Now that you have discussed the policy solutions, how likely do you believe in the outcome?

























This is a Standard-Based Rubric:


Group Member Names:










Teacher’s Name:












Group exhibited readiness from the beginning to the end of the presentation

Group was prepared, but still seemed a little disoriented

Group appeared unprepared



Group exhibited knowledge of their subject in a detailed manner

Group displayed limited/some

Knowledge of their subject

Group did not display knowledge of their subject




Group exhibited professionalism; finished product displayed teamwork

Group worked OK together,

But still seemed unorganized

Group did not work together; minimal teamwork displayed




Exceeds Grade

Level standard

Approached Grade Level Standard

Did not meet Grade Level Standard








Peer Evaluator’s Name:       ____________________________________________




What you accomplished:

By using the Steps of PPA you learned how to evaluate a problem from start to finish.

In this case, we examined
“Discrimination in Placement in New York City Schools.”

Now, we must ask ourselves “How can I make an impact in finding a solution?”

Since this is a question of “Equity” (“freedom from bias or favoritism,”) we must report INequity when we see it.

You can begin by speaking to your parents, teachers and even administrators about how equity, or the lack of, affects you, your classes and your school. 

Best of Luck!!




Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly


Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.


Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.


Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others' questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.


Acknowledge new information expressed by others, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views in light of the evidence presented.


Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.


Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:


Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.


Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.