Gifted & Talented

The city's Department of Education says it's trying to diversify its gifted and talented programs after the number of accepted students fell by 50 percent this year, leading to fewer blacks and Hispanics.

This, despite an increase in overall applicants. The city now uses a cutoff score of 90 percent on standardized tests for admission.

City Councilman Robert Jackson has suggested taking the top ten percent of applicants in every district. But deputy chancellor for teaching and learning, Marcia Lyles, says that will only lead to lower standards.

LYLES: If we took the top ten percent, we would have districts, at least half a dozen or a dozen districts in which we would go down to children who scored in the top 60th percentile or lower. Clearly that is not a standard of giftedness.

REPORTER: Lyles says the city hopes to attract more black and Latino children to its gifted and talented classes by working with pre-schools and community programs.