Accountability · Finding the Right School

Kids Left Waiting In the Cold as NYC Public Schools Cancel G&T Testing – But Don’t Notify Parents!

When word of a snowstorm predicted to hit New York City over Martin Luther King Day weekend first surfaced, I sent out an email to my mailing list letting them know that the public school Gifted & Talented testing scheduled for that weekend might also be cancelled, and how to maximize their strategy for rescheduling. A new date would put some children at a statistical disadvantage.

On Saturday night, when several families let me know they’d received notification from the Department of Education (DOE) that their test had, indeed, been cancelled, I sent out a follow-up email, letting all parents know and urging those who hadn’t yet received one to check their SPAM filters, in case the message had been caught in there.

On Sunday morning, I woke up to the following messages… and it only got worse as the day went on….

My daughter’s appt is 8:30 this morning and there is no one here they did not send us any cancellation notice. I find this to be so unprofessional of the DOE, especially since children are involved and could make it out in the rain why can’t they….

When we came, it said to look at the email and find contact information there. As I got no email, I have no contact information other than the email that was in the test confirmation letter. Not sure what to do….

We arrived at 8:05am and we stayed till 9:15am. The school was closed and there was nobody inside. There were no notifications at the entrance. A total of 9-10 families and one tester arrived. At least three people mentioned that they had contacted DOE on Friday and they were not told about any cancellations. I called the  DOE phone number provided in the G&T invitation letter but nobody answered the phone and there was no message about cancellation….

My 4 yo and I ended up soaking in the rain in front of the locked doors with no email prior to canceling the test (yes I did check the spam folder like 3 times), no sign at the door or anything/anybody at all notifying us that the test was cancelled. Luckily there were some Good Samaritan parents (who arrived in their cars earlier and stayed) ran out of their cars in the rain to let us know that they called 311 number and were told that the test was canceled for today. What angers the most is that after the morning screw up and numerous calls (I am sure they received tons) we have yet to receive anything from DOE (and it is almost 2pm as I am writing this)….

Yesterday we came to where test should be to check if everything ok and test will happen tomorrow…. they says yes! (Man on front door-security guy). This morning we run around building-trying to figure why gate is closed- to say we disappointed is to say nothing-our 4 years old is crying outside under the rain-she’s waiting for so long, heart-broken…

A mom on your mailing list forwarded your note. We still went to our testing site just to make sure it wasn’t only a few sites that had canceled today. I had received no email, there was no information on the DOE site, no one answering phone calls, and certainly no inclement weather to prevent the test from taking place. On arrival at the test site at 11.15, I was met with 10 other parents and their 4 year olds who were patiently waiting for the doors to open at 11.30. I told them what I knew, which caught them all by surprise and at 11.40 everyone finally dispersed with their half frozen kids who needed to use a restroom. Everyone was shocked at the situation and relayed incompetence….

I had my twins registered for 11:30. Thanks to you we did not make the needless trek out in the rain. It would be helpful to know about rescheduling and have any means of figuring that out, as we had planned to be out of town next weekend. Also, what was the reason for the cancellation? It’s raining, yes, but is that reason enough? It’s 40 degrees out….

Firstly, trying to register via has been challenging. Our child attends a UPK [Universal Pre-Kindergarten] at a NYCEEC [New York City Early Education Center], and it turns out this falls under “private school” and not “public school”. There were of course no instructions on this and when we called the hotline every person gave us a different answer. When we finally were able to move past selecting her school, when we picked PS 9 (which was the test site closest to us), it would not give us dates or times to sign up for. After several tries, we chose a different test site and we were finally able to choose a date and time but we never received a confirmation email. Second, when we found out that the G&T test date conflicted with our child’s Hunter round 2 date, trying to reschedule the test was challenging. We called and visited the Family Welcome Center several times, and either got a response that they’re working on it (but no word subsequently and no indication that we were able to change the date) or confusing non answers. We called the school where the test was being administered, and they just responded that they had no control over changing the test dates and that we should talk to the DOE. Finally, when we emailed the email address provided on the ticket a few times, we got an email response back that our test date was moved to the next day (today) but of course no change was reflected on the portal. We still don’t know if and when our child will be able to take the make-up test. This is unacceptable! Thanks for trying to hold the DOE accountable, Alina….

We have a planned trip next week and will not be back until Feb 9th. For god’s sake they cancel this last min, we either have to deal with $200×3 per each plane ticket schedule change and loss of hotel reservation, or miss the G&T test….


When Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Richard Carranza subsequently tout how great their Parent Portal is, how smoothly they are running the schools, and how happy all parents are with the changes they’re making, please forward them this post!

Plus stay tuned for our follow-up, where even parents who got a notification or took their child for the test earlier share their horror stories.


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