I’m firmly on the record saying that the Montgomery County Public Schools is a very good public school district.
To wit, .
I’m also on the record saying MCPS has not closed its academic achievement gaps. For example, .
Reality check: Yes, you can have both a very good public school district—high performing—and have substantial populations of students lagging behind academically. Unfortunately, in our nation, our state, our region, and our county, such extremes are just the way things are.
But one thing is clear in my head about staying high-performing. The degree to which MCPS stays on top of its game relates directly to the degree to which it firmly stands behind its most academically gifted students. And so, when I read my Aug. 5 edition of The Washington Post Magazine—with the story about MCPS’s mathletes—I began to wonder if MCPS really is interested and committed to standing behind its most academically-gifted students.
Have we lost our minds?
Here’s the story in a nutshell: The Montgomery County Math Team is one nation’s best performing math team—they win a lot. The article even refers to some of the team members as “ … the Kobe Bryants and Peyton Mannings of math.” And all of this wonderful work has been going on for decades in Montgomery County. Clearly, it an essential piece of MCPS’s high performance (my opinion here). But times are tight financially and support for the team has been severely cut. Cut to the point where it appears as though the team might be at the end of its road—as in out-of-business within another school year.
And so this is where I’d like to simply end this blog posting a question each for the Montgomery County Board of Education and another for MCPS Superintendent Joshua Starr. (Although, they also are free to answer the above question—Have we lost our minds?)
Board question: Is there any Board member who really believes that MCPS will remain high performing—better than average, better than ordinary—without standing behind our mathletes?
Starr question: You keep preaching to us about how our kids need more real life-like experiences that test creativity and innovation, and so aren't these mathletes doing exactly what you want from all our kids?