On Friday, Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent Joshua Starr responded to my Post op-ed about the inequities in the school system. But he didn’t provide any real answers. Last week, Dr. Starr spoke at the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, and chair Evan Glass asked him what he thought of my column. Dr. Starr said, “There’s no shortage of self-professed experts on education because they went to school.” He later said he’d have a more thorough response to my column. On Friday, the Post published it:
To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, his report of our demise is greatly exaggerated. Reed says that MCPS is “coasting on the system’s good reputation” and is no longer “great,” in essence because our schools have gotten more diverse and our students poorer . . .
Our focus is rightly on raising student achievement across the board, thereby narrowing achievement gaps and giving our students the best possible chance at success once they graduate. I believe one way to narrow those gaps is by working with every school community to focus on the needs of individual students, rather than simply putting more programs in place or trying to change housing patterns.
I’m glad that Dr. Starr decided to respond to my column. But between that and his comments on Monday night, it doesn’t seem like he’s taking my argument seriously. While I did go to public school in Montgomery County, I don’t claim to be an expert. Nearly all of the data I mentioned in the column, and wrote about in the preceding blog posts, comes from MCPS. Researchers from the school system, and from the County Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight, have told me privately that the data is not only correct, but that the conclusions I drew from the data are valid. On Monday, Dr. Starr told me he would respond to the “distortions” and “mischaracterizations” in my findings.
But nowhere did he actually do that.
[Continue reading Dan Reed’s post here at Just Up the Pike.]
Dan Reed blogs at Just Up the Pike. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.