A couple of months ago, Ari took the Gifted and Talented test for placement in Kindergarten.
The test is administered by New York City Department of Education. We traveled to an elementary school in Williamsburg and I waited for an hour while he was quizzed by a stranger.
Yesterday, I got an email saying that the results were in.
I anxiously opened the email wondering what lovely things it might say about my child.
It said "Based on the above criteria, your child is not eligible to apply for placement in a Gifted & Talented program."
If he had scored a 90, Ari would have been "eligible to apply for placement in a Gifted & Talented program."
He was one point away.
When I saw those two numbers, I got angry.
I was angry that the Department of Education was telling me that my son was not "gifted and talented" because I know that (quite the contrary) no matter what a series of tests says, Ari is a bright child.
Ari has impressive visual spatial skills. He is an amazing artist and architect. As his Pre-K teacher tells me, he builds formidable structures with Magnatiles and blocks.
I could go on about how smart and cool my kid is.
I got to thinking, what gives this arbitrary test the right to determine which children are bright(er) than others? Why do we (as a society) rely so heavily on these tests to separate out certain children from the rest?
Shouldn't we be telling all our children that they are gifted and talented in some way?
I'm not sure why I decided to let Ari take the test. Perhaps I wanted the Department to Education's validation that yes, my son is bright.
But ultimately it's not necessary. I believe in my son. Wherever he goes to school he will shine and that's what's most important.