NYC students sue to end ‘caste system’ within gift programs

A group of Big Apple high schoolers are suing the city and state to eliminate gifted and talented programs and admission screenings.

The Manhattan Supreme Court sued, “Almost every aspect of New York City’s public education system is not only driven to promote, but also the artificial racial hierarchy, which has been in the United States for centuries.” Is subjugating people of color. ” Tuesday by a group of 13 students and a youth activist.

Students, only their initials, and identified by to integrate – “A youth-led organization that stands for equity and justice in our schools” – the suit argues that gifted and talented programs “exclude many students of color who instead neglect and give unacceptable results” Condemn the schools. “

They also allege that the city’s schools “teach a Eurosetric curriculum that puts the white experience at the center,” not being a racially diverse staff and helping students and staff “identify and disintegrate racism” Are not providing resources for.

The suit claims that these problems start in elementary and middle schools, rewarding affluent families who have better access to tests and other resources, making them the most successful in “a rigorous system”.

August 11, 2020, NYC Department for Education sign seen outside West Side Secondary School in New York, NY.
A NYC Department for Education sign is seen outside West Side Secondary School in New York, New York on August 11, 2020.
EPA / Peter Foley

The city begins sorting programs for gifted students as a 4-year-old, and the “exclusive pipeline” created by these programs is inaccessible to large swathes of black and latex students and their families, court documents show. Has a claim.

And special test-based high schools are tough for minority students, the court papers alleged.

In some cases, students of color share buildings with students at special events, “witnessing disparities between their own educational experiences and their predominantly white and Asian peers,” the court papers claim.

All of this promotes an environment where minority students face “racial enmity” that does not work to prevent or deter schools, court documents claim.

Black men in suits are called to write “pros and cons” of slavery on the board, research of black students or even students who say the n-word in class and black students are called “monkeys”, Hispanic students are “illegal.” Including incidents alleged. And Muslim students “terrorists”.

Schools make small changes when students speak out against these racial disparities. Nevertheless, “these efforts are not organized, much less mandated and monitored by the city or state,” the suit charges.

Bill de Blasio has not commented on the lawsuit against the Department of Education.
Bill de Blasio has not commented on the lawsuit against the Department of Education.
AP Photo / Frank Franklin II, File

The court papers claim, “There is no government accountability system for the eradication of racism from New York City classrooms and school corridors.”

With student gifted and talented programs and middle and high-school screenings, to establish a system to improve staff diversity, and to monitor conditions that deprive students of sound basic education, such as individual schools Are demanding. Program. “

In a statement, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Education said it would review the suit

“This administration has taken bold, unprecedented steps to advance equity in our admissions policies – suspending academic screens in middle schools, removing district priorities in high schools, and dismantling a system that is four years old Using children’s test results determines their educational success, ”said Rep. Daniel Filson.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to comment as the case was pending.

The governor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks, Bernadette Hogan and Selim Elgar

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