“The era of judging 4-year-olds based on a single test is over,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement about the replacement program, known as Brilliant NYC.
“Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few,” he said. “Every New York City child deserves to reach their full potential, and this new, equitable model gives them that chance.”
Though the mayor has long promised to tackle inequality in city schools, he has faced sharp criticism for not taking more forceful action on desegregation until the end of his mayoralty. He largely avoided the subject of gifted and talented altogether for most of his two terms in office, and appeared wary of a political backlash to any major changes.
His schools chancellor, Meisha Porter, who was appointed this year, has been instrumental in pushing him to fundamentally alter the gifted and talented program, according to people with knowledge of the last several months of intensive negotiations on the issue.
The change presents an unwelcome challenge Mr. Adams, the Democratic nominee for mayor, who would have to implement an entirely new gifted education system during his first year in office.
“Eric will assess the plan and reserves his right to implement policies based on the needs of students and parents, should he become mayor,” said Evan Thies, a spokesman for Mr. Adams’ campaign. “Clearly the Department of Education must improve outcomes for children from lower-income areas.”
Mr. Adams has endorsed a very different approach to gifted and talented: keep the classes, but increase them in low-income neighborhoods. Though that idea has been questioned by researchers, who have said it would do little to integrate the programs, it is popular with some parents, including Black and Latino families who want more gifted options.