January 22, 2021

Why the gifted exam should be cancelled now & forever & news of this week’s hearings

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Dear all –

1.Please read my piece published today at Gotham Gazette. It explains why the DOE should cancel the “gifted” tests immediately; now and forever. It makes no sense to continue this invalid, unreliable and biased exam, especially in the midst of a pandemic and the prospect of steep budget cuts to schools. The contract will cost $1.7M, which doesn’t even include the considerable but undisclosed cost of administering this test one on one to kids as young as four-years-old.

My piece also deals with the abysmal record of Pearson, the corporation that produces the test. The Pearson contract renewal for the gifted test will be voted on next Wed., January 27 by the New York City Panel for Educational Policy. Those who would like to speak on the proposal can register here, starting at 5:30 PM.

2.My latest “Talk out of School” podcast features guests Akil Bello of FairTest, Lisa Rudley of NY State Allies for Public Education, and Jeanette Deutermann of Long Island Opt Out, who explain why all high-stakes testing should be cancelled this spring, including the gifted test, the state 3rd-8th grade exams, and the Regents high school exit exams. More test prep and more standardized exams are the last thing our NYC students should be subjected to while trying to cope with the tremendous stresses and disruptions of the pandemic, on top of the inadequacies and inequities of remote learning.

3.Why the gifted exam should be cancelled now & forever & news of this week’s hearings. Finally, the City Council held hearings on Wednesday on the impact of Covid on schools. I testified about the huge class sizes many students are experiencing with remote learning. Though DOE has repeatedly delayed complying with its legal obligation to report on class sizes this year, which was legally due on Nov. 15, we do have some class size data thanks to a parent survey from Special Support Services LLC, which I included in my testimony.

I also spoke about why the Chancellor’s proposal to double-down next year with online learning is the opposite of what the in-person, human feedback students will need, and I made some alternative suggestions on how that might be provided. Let me know what you think!

thanks Leonie

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters

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