Recently, we received a post card letting us know that the NYC Department of Education had extended its Gifted and Talented Assessment process for students in pre-k. So, if we were interested, we still had time to test Michael (our four years old son) for possible placement to a Gifted and Talented program. I threw the card away.
I just can’t wrap my brain around testing three and four year old kids to see whether or not they are “gifted and talented”. It makes no sense to me. It’s not that I’m even concerned whether or not Michael would get placed in the program. I just think that it’s fundamentally wrong to assess kids’ potential this soon. I think about how random kids are at these young ages. Depending on whether they’re having a “good day” or a “rebellious day” could totally affect how they perform on the test. It’s ridiculous.
I knew that this decision was coming up and I received a lot of input from my friends with kids a little older than my son. Without exception, everyone thought that it was ridiculous to test kids this young. However, some of them had their kids tested for a variety of reasons. The primary reason was that they wanted to give their kids a greater variety of options as to where they could attend school. I understand that. (We’re moving from my beloved Manhattan to one of the other burroughs in order to be in a better school district!)
Both my husband and I grew up in gifted and talented programs. We were tested in the second or third grades though. Overall, I don’t know how I feel about these labels. Perhaps they are necessary, even though they can be divisive (in a not so good way!). I do know that I’m not letting anyone slap a label on my child before he’s even five!
Is this early testing just another case of NYC education craziness or is this happening all over the country?