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Judge Dismisses Suit Seeking to End NYC’s Gifted & Talented Programs

A Manhattan judge on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit that sought to eliminate New York City’s Gifted & Talented programs and admissions screening to public schools.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Frank Nervo dismissed the case, saying the court doesn’t “make educational policy,” and cannot direct curriculum and testing content, employment diversity or staffing, admission and disciplinary policies.

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

Several Big Apple high schoolers had sued the city and state in March 2021, arguing the selective admission processes perpetuate systemic racism and reinforce hierarchies in city schools.

There have been several changes to the Gifted & Talented programs since the lawsuit was introduced, including the addition of 100 kindergarten seats and 1,000 new third grade seats under Mayor Eric Adams’ administration. The plan involves universal screening of all rising kindergarteners’ talents, and the opportunity to apply for students who rank in the top 10 percent of the second grade.

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