Judge dismisses lawsuit because of end of Gifted and talent classes

A Manhattan judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to eliminate New York City’s Gifted & Talented programs and the screening of public school admissions.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo dismissed the case, saying the court does not make “educational policies” and cannot direct curriculum and test content, employment diversity or staffing, admissions and disciplinary policies. .

“The legislature, not the judiciary, is the right branch of government to hear petitioners’ prayers,” the decision said.

Several Big Apple high school students had sued the city and state in March 2021, arguing that the selective admissions processes perpetuate systemic racism and strengthen hierarchies in city schools.

Several changes have been made to the Gifted & Talented programs since the lawsuit was introduced, including the addition of 100 seats in the kindergarten and 1,000 new seats in the third grade under the administration of Mayor Eric Adams. The plan includes a universal screening of all emerging preschool talents and the opportunity to apply for students who are in the top 10 percent of sophomore grade.

Still, the plaintiffs, led by Integrate NYC, a student-led group that advocates for diverse schools, suggested more changes are needed in public school admissions.

Several high school students sued the city and the state last year, claiming the selective admissions processes perpetuate systemic racism and strengthen hierarchies in city schools.
AP/John Minchillo

“We will definitely appeal the ruling,” said District Attorney Mark Rosenbaum, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, who will take the case to the Court of Appeals.

“Students of color and from low-income families in the New York City school system don’t get the same educational opportunities as their peers,” Rosenbaum says. “Every New Yorker knows this is the truth.”

He added: “Correcting such denials is not a matter of discretionary education policy. It is a matter of simple justice, mandated by the New York Constitution.”

Opponents of the lawsuit accused the plaintiffs of being anti-meritocracy — and in the months since it was first introduced, Parents Defending Education, a national organization that opposes race education in schools, intervened in the case as the defendant. .

The New York City Department of Education and the City Law Department praised the judge’s ruling in a statement.

“These plaintiffs asked the court to make significant changes to numerous DOE policies regarding curriculum, admissions and employment,” the spokesperson said. “The court correctly found that DOE and the legislature were the right place to request these changes, not the court.”

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