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New York is in uproar over push to ax gifted programs. This school is doing it anyway

Students from the NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies and the NYC Museum School walk out in support of integration of New York City Schools on Dec. 9. The nation’s largest school system is also one of its most segregated, and gifted and talented programs have been targeted by some as part of the problem.

NEW YORK – The holiday performances always gave it away.

Every December, as students at Public School 9 in Brooklyn stood to sing holiday songs while their parents looked on, one class would be made up of a lot of white students, followed by another class of almost all black students. 

From the outside, the racial divide might seem curious as PS 9 is one of the most diverse elementary schools in Brooklyn: Out of about 940 students, 40% are black, 31% are white, 17% are Hispanic and 9% are Asian. But inside, many students spend their days learning in separate groups. The gifted and talented classes are attended by mostly white and Asian kids; the general education classes, mostly black students.

“It wasn’t obvious until you sat in the audience and watched everyone,” said Afiya Lahens, a black parent whose daughter is in the general education track.