As Montgomery County Public Schools seeks a new superintendent, how can we ensure that high-needs schools will have the leadership they need? Join us and the Montgomery County Education Forum for “What the Next Superintendent Must Deliver,” a community forum on how the next superintendent of MCPS can best meet the needs of a growing and diverse school population. We’ll have speakers including both education experts and MCPS students and take a detailed look at our 13 questions that the Board of Education should consider in finding a new superintendent.
The meeting’s next Thursday, March 19 from 7 to 9:30pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building, located at One Veterans Place in downtown Silver Spring. For more information or to RSVP, check out our Facebook event page.
While the primary election feels like a distant memory, the general election is less than six weeks away! Because Board of Education races are non-partisan, there are still competitive races for all four seats on the ballot (Districts 1, 3, 5, and At-Large) this year.
You’ve seen our endorsements for Board of Education, and now here’s your chance to meet the candidates. This page will be updated throughout the fall with debates and candidate events as we hear about them.
Don’t forget: Election Day is Tuesday, November 4 from 7am to 8pm. Early voting runs from October 23 through October 30 at polling places around Montgomery County. And you’ve got until October 14 to register to vote.
Upcoming Board of Education Candidate Events
Saturday, October 11th: 8:45 – 11:00 a.m.,
Carver Educational Services Center, 850 Hungerford Dr. Rockville
Sponsored by NAACP Parents Council
Tuesday, October 14th: 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.,
Silver Spring Civic Center, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring
Sponsored by the Montgomery County Education Forum (MCEF)
Wednesday, October 15th: 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
River Falls Club House 7915 Horseshoe Lane, Potomac, MD.
Sponsored by the Whitman High School Cluster
Tuesday, October 21: 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.,
Long Branch Community Center, 8700 Piney Branch Road, Silver Spring
Sponsored by Safe Silver Spring and MCCPTA
Monday, September 29: The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations are hosting a candidate forum with both incumbents and challengers. The event starts at 6:30pm at the Carver Educational Services Center, located at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville.
Tuesday, September 30: The Montgomery County Taxpayers League, Montgomery County Civic Federation, and Parents Coalition of Montgomery County host a forum for challengers only. That event starts at 7:00pm at the Rockville Library, located at 21 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.
Saturday, October 5th: 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.,
Garrett Park Town Hall, 10814 Kenilworth Avenue, Garrett Park
Sponsored by Start School Later, Inc.
Wednesday, October 8th:7:30 – 9:00 p.m.,
Aspen Hill Library, 4407 Aspen Hill Road, Rockville
Sponsored by The Library Advisory Committee and the Strathmore-Bel Pre Civic Association
Summer is coming, but One Montgomery isn’t taking a vacation. We hope to use the next few months as an opportunity to continue our conversation about the state of Montgomery County’s public schools and how we can ensure stronger, more equitable schools for everyone. Here’s what we have going on:
– Tonight, we are cosponsoring a County Council District 5 candidates forum hosted by the Coalition of East County Citizens. Hear the candidates talk about their plans for education in District 5, which includes Burtonsville, White Oak, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park. That event will be at 7pm at the East County Regional Services Center, located at 3300 Briggs Chaney Road.
– On Saturday, we’ll be at IMPACT Silver Spring’s East County Family Reunion, a free event with food, games, a live DJ, and a basketball tournament. We’ll have a table and would love to meet you and hear your thoughts on Montgomery County schools. Join us from 11am to 3pm at the East County Community Center, located at 3310 Gateshead Manor Way.
-Help us elect candidates who are committed to school equity! We’re looking for volunteers to help pass out sample ballots at early voting centers. Early voting runs from June 12 to June 19 and we’d like to have people at the Silver Spring Civic Building and Fairland Recreation Center on weekday evenings and weekend mornings. Please email us at onemontschools at gmail dot com if you’re interested in helping.
– We won’t be having another community workshop until the fall, but until then, we’re interested in having smaller house meetings where we can get to know the people who are active in local school communities and talk about the issues facing our public schools. Would you be interested in attending or hosting one? Send an email to onemontschools at gmail dot com and let us know.
One of the nation’s foremost experts on education, Richard Kahlenberg, lives right here in Montgomery County and has children in public school. In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, he weighs in on the school system’s growing achievement gap and argues that racially and socioeconomically integrated schools are the best way to improve the education of all students:
A half-century of research, however, suggests that pouring extra funds into high-poverty schools is not the most important thing policymakers can do for poor kids. Giving them access to high-quality middle-class schools is far more effective. Money matters in education, but other things matter more.
The “resources” a school provides include not only funds but also academically engaged peers who encourage achievement among classmates, a cadre of parents who volunteer in class and know how to pull the levers of power when things go wrong and teachers who have high expectations for students. All of these ingredients for success are much more likely to be found in schools with a majority of middle-class students than in high-poverty schools.
Kahlenberg, who lives in Bethesda and whose children attend public schools here, cites past research about MCPS that says low-income students do better in low-poverty schools than in high-poverty schools. He also notes that despite efforts here and elsewhere to improve schools were most students are disadvantaged, socioeconomically diverse schools are 22 times more likely to perform better.
He also suggests ways to promote integration in the school system and suggests that higher-income families stand to gain from more diverse schools as well:
Moreover, there is no widespread effort to allow low-income students to transfer to wealthier schools, a practice in other jurisdictions. This omission is a major drawback of Montgomery’s integration efforts. More-advantaged children would benefit immensely from greater levels of school integration. My children have received terrific academic preparation in the Pyle-Whitman cluster in Bethesda, for instance, but they miss out on the benefits of learning alongside those with different life experiences rooted in race and income…
Middle-class parents understandably do not want to send their children to schools with overwhelming poverty, but Columbia University researchers Allison Roda and Amy Stuart Wells have found that many white, advantaged parents see racial and ethnic diversity as a plus in preparing children for a 21st-century workforce. Schools that offer bilingual Spanish and English programs are particularly popular and highlight the ways in which diversity bolsters learning, as native Spanish speakers can help English speakers learn a new language, and vice versa.
You can read Kahlenberg’s full article in the Washington Post.
Next month, he will give a talk about how to close the achievement gap along with Elaine Bonner-Tompkins, the county researcher who recently released a report about segregation and academic performance in MCPS. The meeting, hosted by the Montgomery County Civic Federation, will be Monday, May 12 at 7:45pm in the Council Office Building’s first floor auditorium, located at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. For more information, visit the Civic Fed’s website.
He’ll also be giving a talk about his research
East County elected representatives will be available for a public forum Tuesday night at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. One Montgomery will be there, advocating school equity as a means for creating a stronger community. Stand up with us.
Several elected officials will be there, including state Senator Karen Montgomery, Delegates Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke, and Craig Zucker, County Councilmember and Education Committee chair Valerie Ervin; and Mike Durso of the Board of Education. Larry Edmonds, Northeast Consortium Vice President of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs will be there as well.
While the format has not been announced, we expect time for audience questions and comments. Come ready with something to say. Here are some ideas (bring your own):
1. Why is it acceptable that NEC kids score so much lower than West County kids, year after year after year?
2. Why is it okay that students have such wildly different educational experiences, even within the same school?
3. What is MCPS doing about underperformance in high-poverty schools? Just the Innovation School pilot? How exactly is that going to help us?
4. People over here are starting to use words like “blight.” Does blight cause our schools to do worse? Or do our schools cause blight?
5. It is Board policy to provide more resources to high-poverty schools. Where are the resources?
6. Many NEC and DCC schools receive a subsidy for smaller K-2 class sizes. How much money is that, per school? Is the subsidy paid from taxpayer money, or just Title 1 money?
7. Why doesn’t MCPS subsidize smaller class sizes in Grades 3-5 and 6-8? Or do you have something better to do with the money?
8. What is MCPS doing to see that our high-poverty students have the most experienced teachers with a track record of success? It looks like the most experienced elementary teachers teach where the need is least.
9. Does MCPS have test score targets and a schedule for bringing our schools up to an equitable level of performance?
10. The White Oak Science Gateway seems like an excellent development for the County as a whole. How will it affect the demographic composition of our schools, and our students’ academic success? Has any thought even been given to this?
11. The Delegation seems to have the idea that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” How can our East County representatives possibly have that idea with respect to East County schools? And in Senator Montgomery and Delegate Kaiser, we have two of the most powerful education representatives in the Legislature. What’s going on?
12. Do you advocate meeting the needs of the East County, or do you discount these needs in favor of others’ interests or some conception of whole County good? If you discount, how do you strike a balance, and who will represent our needs?
The forum will run from 7 to 9pm at Paint Branch High School, 14121 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville. Meet us outside at 6:45 and wear a sign or nametag in our orange and blue colors proclaiming “One Montgomery.” You might add a slogan, like “Strong Schools=Strong Communities” or “Equity in Education is a Civil Right.” (We’ll try to bring some extras.)
Our East County neighbors and students need you! We’ll see you on Tuesday.
Thanks to everyone who came out to our community workshop last night in Colesville. About 30 people came out to the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration for a meeting about the achievement gap in Montgomery County Public Schools and how to make our schools stronger. It’s exciting to see so much community support for strong schools.
The Gazette‘s Peggy McEwan was there to cover the meeting and interviewed several group members and concerned parents, residents and community leaders:
It was an ambitious agenda for the first community meeting of the members of One Montgomery, an organization formed this summer to look at the problem of declining test scores in schools of the Montgomery County Public Schools Northeast Consortium and see how the trend can be reversed.
Ed Wetzlar was one of the founders of the group, along with Fred Stichnoth and Adrian Lees, all Silver Spring residents living in the Northeast Consortium area.
“I was concerned not only for the students, but also our property values,” said Wetzlar, who lives three blocks from Springbrook High School. “Schools are the foundation of your children’s future and, if you own property, schools determine the value of your property.”
Although originally focused on the Northeast Consortium — which encompasses James Hubert Blake, Paint Branch and Springbrook high schools, along with five middle schools, 16 elementary schools and the Carl Sandburg Learning Center — One Montgomery would like to have a farther reach, Wetzlar said, working for equity in education throughout the county.
We’re not done yet. Next Tuesday, several elected officials from the school board, County Council, and state delegation will host a Community Concerns Forum at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville. We’d love for you to come out and join the call for more resources in underperforming schools. For more information and for other upcoming events, visit One Montgomery’s calendar page.
One Montgomery is ready to start a conversation about how to support and improve Montgomery County Public Schools so that every student in every school has the resources they need to succeed. Join us for a community workshop on Thursday, November 14 at 7pm at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, located at 13925 New Hampshire Avenue in Colesville. This event is sponsored by the Greater Colesville Citizens Association.
We’ll have a meet-and-greet with refreshments at 7pm before calling the meeting to order at 7:30. There will be a short presentation about the issues facing Montgomery County schools, especially those in the Northeast and Downcounty consortia, followed by breakout sessions where we can gather ideas for how promote school equity. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a printable copy of the flyer. We look forward to seeing you there!