Tuesday, November 5, 2013

one montgomery seeks to close the gap in MCPS

As Montgomery County's public schools grow more diverse, the achievement gap between rich and poor students, and the schools they attend, grows wider. In response, a new group of parents, neighbors and community leaders has come together to fight for a more equitable school system.

Paint Branch HS, Closing Time
Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. Photo by the author.

Montgomery County Public Schools is one of the best school systems in the nation. But the isolation of minority and low-income students in the system, coupled with middle-class flight from the county's lower-ranked schools, means MCPS can't always keep its promise of a high-quality eduation to its students and our community. We know that disadvantaged students perform better in socioeconomically diverse schools, and while MCPS has long been a leader in school integration, there's a lot more it needs to do.

But the school system's stellar reputation often means that these issues get ignored or brushed aside, even by MCPS top officials who insist that things are going fine.

The stability of our neighborhoods and the strength of our economy are closely connected to the quality of our public schools. While our schools can't solve social and economic ills, they play a huge role in correcting them. That's why good schools aren't just an issue for parents and students, but for all residents, for community leaders, and for our local businesses.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that we can do something about it. Over the past several weeks, I've been working with a group of East County residents and the Greater Colesville Citizens Association to start an organization that will advocate for a stronger, more equitable school system.

We're called One Montgomery, and Thursday, November 14 we're hosting a community workshop to talk about the issues affecting MCPS today and potential ways we can work with the school system, Montgomery County, and the state of Maryland to fix them. Join us at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 13925 New Hampshire Avenue in Colesville. We'll have a meet-and-greet starting at 7pm, followed by the meeting at 7:30.

For more information, you can download this flyer. You can also join the conversation on our new blog, Twitter, Facebook, and on our listserv.

1 comment:

Sheryl said...

Here's a link to an article about a neat program in Florida. http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/04/us/cnnheroes-pyfrom-brilliant-bus/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

I volunteered in MCPS schools and on committees for years. Any school system that relies on parents to help with homework or to navigate the system is not doing well by its children. Children need to be read to on a daily basis from less than a year; they need to read fluently by the third grade; and need to master basic arithmetic and multiplication by fourth grade. MCPS does not make this happen. I saw so many children who were bright who were left behind because no one at home knew these basic truths. It could have happened to my own children.