To get their children into “gifted” kindergarten classes, affluent New Yorkers are hiring tutors to test-prep three- and four-year-olds, reports the New York Times. A “gifted” public education is free, while private school may cost $20,000 a year. So the cost of tutoring seems small by comparison
Bright Kids, which opened this spring in the financial district, has some 200 students receiving tutoring, most of them for the gifted exams, for up to $145 a session and 80 children on a waiting list for a weekend “boot camp” program.
New York City uses the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, or Olsat, a reasoning exam, and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, a knowledge test, to decide which children qualify for gifted programs. Applications have soared and the number of children scoring above the 90th percentile has increased from 18 percent to 22 percent.
If demand is so high for “gifted” classes, why not expand them? The easy-to-teach kids can learn in a larger class; the non-gifted classes could get a bit smaller.
Update: The intelligence tests given to pre-kindergarteners don’t predict future school performance accurately, write Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman in Nurture Shock. A few years down the line, only 27 percent of “gifted” students are high performers. That’s because little kids’ brains are developing.