The Wall Street Journal recently published an article exploring the lengths to which some parents will go to improve their children’s performance in NYC gifted-and-talented testing. While this piece raises some relevant issues, it fails to provide alternative solutions to gaps in public education and to the intensely competitive state of the city’s G&T education programs. From our perspective, companies like ours exist because children and their families need help, and our responsibility is to provide the best tools possible to aid in their pursuit of success.
More than just Test Prep
The Purpose of FasTracKids is to enrich the minds of young children. Preparation for the NYC Gifted and Talented Test is just one of the many programs we’ve designed to better prepare school-aged children for successful educational careers – and beyond. Our diverse programs start as early as age two, go all the way up to 15 years of age, and include such wide-ranging offerings as Preschool alternatives, STEAM + Enrichment, Robotics, Math and English Enrichment, private tutoring, and more.
A Gap in Support
Jonathan Plucker suggests in the article that schools should provide more accelerated enrichment services and expand screening, and we wholeheartedly agree. We’ve seen firsthand the potential that stands to be realized by large-scale improvement in these areas. But so long as schools fail to provide enough of these services, FasTracKids will continue to make high-quality, proven-effective supplemental options available to NYC parents.
Enriched & Engaged
As Admissions Counselor Joyce Szuflita suggests, we do deliver enrichment for children ages 3 and 4, all the way up to 14 and 15 years of age, but we disagree that prepping a 4-year-old is likely to backfire. Speaking specifically of the FasTracKids methodology, educators work to ensure that children are active, engaged, and actually enjoying their lessons. A testament to this is that our students and their parents report receiving value even when the children aren’t ultimately admitted to NYC G&T programs. Our holistic approach is designed to develop a strong base for future learning, stimulate children’s innate curiosity, and benefit students for their entire educational future.
Answering the Call
FasTracKids is different from other tutoring companies in that we do not recommend G&T Test Prep as a be-all and end-all program. Instead of heavily marketing one-off Test Prep, we believe that comprehensive accelerated and enriched learning is the best way to go for the long term. We also believe in universal G&T screening, and that higher-quality, accelerated programs should be available to all students. But while these deficiencies persist in public education, we’ll continue to make Test Prep available to our families – who have asked us to provide them with this service as their trusted, long-term learning-support partner.
Affordable Supplemental Education Programs
Another bit of good news for readers of the Wall Street Journal article is that, while some companies do charge up to $400/hour for G&T Test Prep, our goal is — and has always been — to provide affordable, high-quality solutions to families. For this reason, fees at our centers are far more affordable, ranging from $78.50 to $142.50 per session. In addition to the time, focus, and expertise of our educators, FasTracKids sessions include books, cards for prizes, and snacks (in some cases). The real value of our clients’ investments, however, continue to unfold year after year.