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The Democrat who will likely become New York City’s next mayor says he does not intend to get rid of the city’s program for gifted and gifted students, outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio has just announced.

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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Friday in an interview on CNN that de Blasio may not get rid of the program in the nation’s largest school district until next year, when there is a new mayor. Adams said he would preserve the program and expand opportunities for advanced education.

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In response, the city’s Department of Education noted that Adams’ plan to expand accelerated education to schools matched the goals of de Blasio’s plan to replace the gifted and gifted program.

De Blasio defended his plan again in a radio interview on Friday but was not directly asked about Adams’ comments.

De Blasio, also a Democrat, announced a week ago that he was starting a process that would begin next year to end the program, which critics say favors white and Asian American students, While some enroll black and Latino children.

De Blasio said the district with nearly one million students will next year stop offering screening tests for 4-year-olds, which are used to identify gifted and gifted students. Instead, he said the public school system would work to provide accelerated education to all kindergarteners, in which students use more advanced skills such as robotics, computer coding, community organizing or advocacy on projects while in their regular classes.

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The mayor said he planned to hold community discussions in the coming months and start the full program just before he leaves office.

“He can’t get rid of it until next year. There’s nothing to bring back,” Adams said Friday.

Adams said the next mayor of the heavily democratic city should evaluate the program, adding that it would expand opportunities for accelerated learning and for children who have learning disabilities.

Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliva has also said that he will re-implement the program immediately.

Although New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the country, its public schools have long been criticized for being among the most isolated, especially within the gifted and gifted program. About 75% of the program’s 16,000 students are of white or Asian descent, although black and Latino students make up about two-thirds.

Some Asian American activists have pushed back against plans to end the program, saying it gave their children a way out of poorly performing schools and eventually poverty.