The Montgomery County Board of Education asked Superintendent Edward Andrews last night to prepare a number of alternatives to his most recent proposal recommending reinstatement of a much-debated desegregation plan in the Rosemary Hills and Bethesda-Chevy Chase school areas.
The board made the request after about 700 people appeared at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to discuss Andrews' proposal to reinstate and restructure a desegregation plan terminated by the previous board last year. Andrews' plan would install the desegregation program in six schools.
The previous plan, which involved pairing schools with high and low minority enrollments, was dismantled by the previous school board last year when it voted to close Rosemary Hills Elementary School, which then had one of the highest minority enrollments in the county. That decision was later reversed by the State Board of Education, which directed the local board to come up with other plans. Last night's request by the new board was an attempt to fulfil the state board's request.
Nearly every speaker at last night's meeting voiced displeasure with Andrews' proposal, but the reasons for disapproval varied.
Some Rosemary Hills parents were unhappy because the proposal would involve sending their children to other schools for the majority of their elementary education. Most of the other parents said they disapproved because the plan would require their children to attend schools in their early grades that are not in their neighborhoods.
Under Andrews' latest plan, two schools, Rosemary Hills and Somerset elementaries, would become early childhood centers with all children from the six schools included in the plan attending one of those schools from preschool through first grade.
For grades two through six, children in the area would attend one of four schools: Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Westbrook and North Chevy Chase, which currently is closed.