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Ben Shapiro: NYC Getting Rid of Gifted Programs Shows ‘Left Does Not Give a D--- About Achievement’

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Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | August 28, 2019 | 2:53 PM EDT

Host of "The Ben Shapiro Show" and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire Ben Shapiro (Screenshot)

During the after show portion of his daily podcast “The Ben Shapiro Show” on Tuesday, host and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire Ben Shapiro blasted New York and the left for recommending that the city get rid of the gifted programs in public education, Shapiro saying the proposal shows that the “left does not give a d--- about achievement.”

“This is insanity,” stated Ben Shapiro. “And it demonstrates full scale that the left does not give a d--- about achievement. The left only cares about equality of outcome. And that means that if they have to force gifted students into worse classes, they will do it. They’re not about raising other students up. They’re about pushing the great students down, so that you can assure that parity is achieved, even if that means mediocrity through parity. Unbelievable.”

Ben Shapiro’s comments came in response to a New York Times piece written by Eliza Shapiro titled “Desegregation Plan: Eliminate All Gifted Programs in New York.” According to the Times, “[A] high-level panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these selective programs [programs labeled gifted and talented] in an effort to desegregate the system, which has 1.1 million students and is by far the largest in the country.”

Below is a transcript, in pertinent part, of Ben Shapiro’s reaction to the policy recommendation in New York City:

“So, quick thing that I hate.

“So, one of the beautiful things about the left’s perspective on education is that it’s not about educating children. It’s about leveling the playing field. By leveling the playing field, what they mean is that no one should actually perform well. How do we know this? Listen to this: The New York Times reporting on New York’s education plan.

“‘Desegregation Plan: Eliminate All Gifted Programs in New York.’ You got that?

“So, in order to achieve racial parity in the programs in New York, they want to eliminate programs for the smartest kids, who are disproportionately Asian in the city of New York, by the way.

“‘For years,’ according to Eliza Shapiro, no relation, ‘New York City has essentially maintained two parallel public school systems.

“‘A group of selective schools and programs geared to students labeled gifted and talented is filled mostly with white and Asian children. The rest of the system is open to all students and is predominantly black and Hispanic.

“‘Now, a high-level panel appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio is recommending that the city do away with most of these selective programs in an effort to desegregate the system, which has 1.1 million students and is by far the largest in the country.

“‘… de Blasio, who has staked his mayoralty on reducing inequality, has the power to adopt some or all of the proposals without input from the State Legislature or City Council. If he does, the decision would fundamentally reshape a largely segregated school system and could reverberate in school districts across the country.’

“So now, they are going to shut down the gifted programs in selective schools specifically because not enough Hispanic and black kids are getting in. Asians are wildly overrepresented at these schools.

“This obviously is because New York is a deeply racist place, or alternatively, it is because there are racial differentials in test performance that are reflected into who is getting into what school. So the solution is to get rid of the possibility of better schools and make sure that everybody goes to the worst schools.

“Great job, New York City. Obviously, you care about kids.

“‘The proposals … may also face opposition from some middle-class black and Hispanic families that have called for more gifted programs in mostly minority neighborhoods.’  That would be a better plan, would it not?

“‘Still, the plan could resonate,’ says The New York Times, ‘with black and Hispanic families who believe that these selective programs unfairly divert money and attention from neighborhood schools.

“‘The plan includes all elementary school gifted programs, screened middle schools and some high schools — with the exception of Stuyvesant High School and the city’s seven other elite high schools, whose admission is partially controlled by Albany.

 “The panel, says ‘[g]ifted programs and screened schools have “become proxies for separating students who can and should have opportunities to learn together.”’

“Okay, this is such absolute crap. Okay? Studies do not show that when you put gifted students in a room with non-gifted students that the non-gifted students benefit. All they show is that the gifted students underperform. I’m aware of no study that shows that gifted students perform better when they’re placed in a mediocre classroom and that students that are not gifted perform better when they are placed in a class with gifted students. In fact, precisely the opposite.

“Okay, my own personal experience. I’ve been in and out— When I was growing up I was in public school, and then I was in private school and then I was in public school again and then I was in private school. We bounced around a lot depending on my parents’ financial fortunes at the time. Well, when I was in my original public school I had to skip a grade because the classes couldn’t keep up with where I was. So I skipped third grade. And then, I went to a private school. The private school couldn’t keep up with where I was on the secular side. So my parents put me in a highly gifted magnet here in the Los Angeles area. And the highly gifted magnet classes were disproportionately Asian and they were separate from the other classes in the school.

“Now, do I think that I would have learned better if I had stayed at the private school – not even the public school – the private school where they didn’t have the capacity to deal with me on an academic level? I probably lost a year in math because I was in a class where the teacher literally did not know how to deal with me. The teacher was teaching algebra. I was already past algebra. And the teacher literally just handed me a geometry book, and said, ‘Learn it.’ I think I was nine or ten at the time. Needless to say, I did not learn geometry that year.

“Okay, do you think you are doing these gifted students any favors? And do you think you’re doing the non-gifted students any favors by basically pushing the gifted students down into a crappier system?

“This is insanity. And it demonstrates full scale that the left does not give a d--- about achievement. The left only cares about equality of outcome. And that means that if they have to force gifted students into worse classes, they will do it. They’re not about raising other students up. They’re about pushing the great students down, so that you can assure that parity is achieved, even if that means mediocrity through parity. Unbelievable.”

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