Brooklyn School Cutting Gifted Program to Boost Diversity

Doyle Murphy, New York Daily News, January 30, 2014

A popular gifted program will get the axe after Ditmas Park school officials chose diversity over exclusivity.

Citing a lack of diversity, PS 139 Principal Mary McDonald informed parents in a letter that the Students of Academic Rigor and two other in-house programs would no longer accept applications for incoming kindergartners.

“Our Kindergarten classes will be heterogeneously grouped to reflect the diversity of our student body and the community we live in,” McDonald told parents in a letter posted on the photo-sharing site flickr and obtained by Ditmas Park Corner.

More than two thirds of the school’s roughly 1,000 students are black or hispanic while Asian-American and white students made up 28%, according to Education Dept. records.

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One mother, a Sudanese immigrant, said the program was brimming with white students—but she was looking forward to her daughter joining after years of high test scores.

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Other parents and relatives picking up students on Wednesday said the school should keep the program as is.

“It’s been running like this for so long,” said 16-year-old Maruful Hossain, who attended the school as a child and now picks up his little brother there. “It will always be diverse—no matter what.”

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