Gifted and Talented Education in New York City

Thesis Plan

When writing your thesis, once you've gone through brainstorming a topic, you can begin a thesis plan. The major component of your thesis plan is the proposal, where you explain exactly what you intend to argue in your thesis. Other components include:

Research Questions:
Your main research question, and any sub questions you plan to answer through your research.
Can just be the major points of your argument, or outline the flow of your argument.
Describes the methods you plan on using to conduct your research, like interviews, observations or ethnographies, etc. You can include reflections on which methods you tried and whether they were helpful, and what you learned from them.
Action Plan:
A schedule of when you will complete different parts of your research and pieces of your project. Can be weekly or monthly, and helps to keep you accountable to complete your work in a timely fashion.

Below, as an example, is my thesis statement and proposal.


  1. There is need for gifted program.
  2. Definitions of giftedness.
  3. Problem is how students are identified.
  4. Nuances of what is creating segregation in the program.


The gifted and talented program in New York City public schools has become a frequent target in the greater debate around segregation in the school system. The program has been identified as an early source of segregation in schools because of its admissions process which favors white and Asian students of more affluent backgrounds and screens students as early as four years old. While most parties agree that the admissions process is problematic and needs to be addressed, some integration advocacy groups see the elimination of the entire program as the best way to address the segregation it creates.

Since the 1950s and 60s, the United States federal Department of Education has reported on the state of gifted education in the country, and worked on researching and funding programs to educated gifted students. Even in these early reports, the federal government defined giftedness as regardless of race, income or background. Outstanding talent are present in children and youth from all cultural groups, across all economic strata, and in all areas of endeavor. U.S. Department of Education, 1993. The reports increasingly called for funding to identify and educate gifted students, as a national imperative to cultivate the talent that might come from all corners of the country. Psychological studies about giftedness have similarly argued that not only is giftedness not a trait restricted by race or income, it is also not a trait that can be ignored in classrooms. They warn about the detrimental effects on gifted students who are not challenged, from social issues with peers to depression.

In 2006 when then schools Chancellor Joel Klein, of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, announced the standardization of gifted and talented admissions in New York City schools, he intended to create a fair and rigorous admissions process that would better identify gifted students. He also hoped to bring the gifted programs operated by individual districts under the control of the Department of Education in order to provide them more equally. Twelve years later and the admissions process he implemented has created five segregated citywide G&T schools, and has stripped several districts and communities of gifted programs, primarily minority and poorer areas. The program has become a vehicle for white, Asian and affluent families to further segregate themselves in some of the best quality schools in the city, in very select neighborhoods in the city.

The problem, therefore, is two fold: the manner in which gifted students are identified via an unfair admissions process, and the perception that gifted programs are for the privileged and elite, rather than for students who truly need additional services to learn. Like students of other special populations, ie: students in temporary housing, English Language Learners and students with disabilities, gifted students need additional resources and specialized curriculum to meet their needs. It is easier to imagine the special needs of vulnerable populations, like students facing poverty or developmental disabilities, because they “lack” the ability to learn in a normal classroom setting on their own. Gifted students, however, overachieve in a normal classroom setting, so their need isn’t registered as inability. Gifted students may not “lack” ability, but they are in greater need than a general education student of a specialized curriculum to make sure they are continuously learning and growing. Psychological studies also point to their need for counseling as they can suffer social and emotional problems, like social isolation, perfectionism and underachievement.

The issue of segregation in the G&T program in NYC schools is also understated in the news and media. The repetition of the diversity statistic, that G&T programs are not representative of the racial makeup of the public school systems, where black and Hispanic children are less than 30% of the population in G&T but over 70% of the population in city schools, does not adequately explain the severity of the segregation in the program. Segregation in the G&T program spans geography, race, socioeconomic status and different abilities.