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New York has endured nearly eight years under its worst mayor ever, but Bill de Blasio aims to do even more damage on his way out the door. His plan to end all Gifted and Talented programs in the public schools represents another assault on merit and would further dumb down a system already drowning in mediocrity and failure.
The mayor, thankfully term-limited on Jan. 1, wants to replace achievement with a politically correct concoction called Brilliant, which appears to be based on the notion that every child is a little bit Gifted and Talented.
But just a little bit because students identified as having the ability to learn faster would get accelerated instruction in specific subjects while remaining with their initial classmates, which sounds like a formula for lots of chaos and very little learning.
It also sounds like a parting gift to the rapacious education unions, with the city promising to retrain 4,000 kindergarten teachers and hire more. It will also create seven specialist teams of “experts” to get the switch started next September so that 65,000 kindergarten students can participate — and no doubt get participation trophies.
Race, of course, is at the heart of the matter, as it is with nearly everything on the left these days. Because whites and Asians do much better under the current model than blacks and Latinos, the whole system must be destroyed.
Whatever the intention, nothing stigmatizes black and Latino children more than telling them they can’t succeed and that the rules must be changed to help them, yet that’s the left’s answer to lopsided outcomes. It defines equity as results that match each groups’ percentage of the population.
People protest the elimination of Gifted and Talented programs with mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa.James Keivom for New York Post
That’s insipid nonsense, and there is not a single human endeavor where that happens naturally. Thus, it counts as modestly good news that de Blasio’s likely successor, Eric Adams, the Democrats’ nominee, gave a noncommittal response to the idea.
Adams, who supported Gifted and Talented programs in the past as well as charter schools, which de Blasio also hates, said through an aide that “Eric will assess the plan and reserves his right to implement policies based on the needs of students and parents, should he become mayor.”
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and former NYPD captain, already broke with his party’s orthodoxy in key areas, and tens of thousands of parents are hoping this is another one. His focus on tackling rising crime and opposition to new taxes on the wealthy are the first down payments on his pledge to become “the new face of the Democratic Party.”
He also said he would “show America how to run a city.” To do that, he will need to break the mold of failure gripping too many urban public schools.
Mayoral candidate Eric Adams has supported Gifted and Talented programs in the past.Gabriella Bass
Driven by racial and social activists who gave up on fixing educational failure factories, many Dem mayors and governors are embracing radical indoctrination theories. Programs such as critical race theory, which by definition promotes discrimination, and courses that advocate socialism over capitalism and degrade American history are replacing core subjects that aimed to prepare students broadly for jobs and college.
The Biden administration has joined the madness by giving grants to school districts that agree to offer racial poison to their students.
The battle is fast approaching a breaking point, as evidenced by the uproar over a US Department of Justice promise to get involved. Although he claimed to be motivated by threats to school officials, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s decision looks suspiciously like federal muscle being used to squelch dissent and intimidate parents who are resisting critical race theory and other brainwashing scams.
As The Wall Street Journal editorial page noted, any crimes committed in the course of school battles should be handled by state and local law enforcement. Garland’s decision to make a federal case where none exists exposes his partisan motive.
The timing of Garland’s decision is especially curious. It comes just as Virginia is emerging as the epicenter of the school wars, and where Democrat Terry McAuliffe is locked in a tight gubernatorial race with Republican Glenn Youngkin.
Garland’s order came only days after McAuliffe said in a debate that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” a comment that Youngkin seized on and that could be a pivotal moment in the race. Garland’s order just happens to dovetail with McAuliffe’s stance that parents should be quiet.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (left) claimed in a gubernatorial debate that parents shouldn’t tell “schools what they should teach.”Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
With Virginia being a reliably blue state, if Youngkin can pull off an upset, look for school choice and parents’ rights to finally get the attention they deserve in next year’s midterms. On the other hand, if Garland and the left manage to intimidate enough parents into silent acquiescence, the radical movement will prevail and spread.
And not just in Virginia, with de Blasio’s move to end Gifted and Talented programs another aspect of the destructive push away from merit. The combined effect is to shut parents out of decisions as “experts” offer up a dog’s stew of anti-American social and race propaganda and call it education.
Just Friday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill requiring all students to take ethnic-studies classes to graduate, effectively making a version of critical race theory mandatory. The law would require a one-semester course, but schools are free to require a full year.
It’s a given that the course will take the form of cheerleading for some groups and demonizing others — all on the basis of skin color and religion. The run-up to adoption featured a competition to see which group’s experiences get most favored attention, leading some Jews, Koreans, Sikhs and Armenians, among others, to complain their stories were ignored.
It’s hard to imagine anything more damaging to our fragile union than turning schools into combat zones over race, ideology and history. But if the left gets its way, that’s the future of education in America.
What’s ‘left’ for media
The Gallup survey finding just that 36 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the media contains a telling detail.
The 36 percent overall favorable comes from 68 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of independents.
In other words, because most of the media leans left, Democrats are more likely to trust it. The dynamic illustrates the impact of straight news no longer being straight.
NYT not quite on same page
Make up your mind.
New York Times headline No. 1:
U.S. Hiring Was Weak in September, as Delta Takes a Toll.
New York Times headline No.2 :
Analysis: The New Jobs Numbers Are Pretty Good, Actually.
‘Jump’ to conclusion
Reader Harold Theurer predicts we haven’t heard the last of the man who jumped from a ninth-floor window in Jersey City and lived because he landed on a BMW. Theurer writes: “The jumper will most likely sue the owner of the car and the owner will be charged for leaving the scene of an accident.”
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