Montgomery County
Interim schools chief: Staying the course

As Montgomery County searches for a new schools chief, Larry A. Bowers, the district’s longtime chief operating officer, stepped into the school system’s top job last week, becoming interim superintendent.

“We’re staying the course, nothing is changing and we’re not slowing down,” Bowers said, noting that the district’s major emphasis in the months ahead will be teaching and learning. “If anything, we’re focusing more on mathematics and literacy.”

Bowers said steep rates of failure on high school final exams in math remain a concern, as does some slippage in early-grade reading scores.

“We’re not taking our eye off the academics, and we want to make sure that we in central office are providing the assistance that schools need,” he said.

Bowers is expected to hold the top job through June 30. He took over following the departure of superintendent Joshua P. Starr, whose resignation took effect Feb. 16.

Montgomery’s school board hopes to have a new superintendent in place by July 1. Community meetings to collect public comment about what qualities people would like to see in the next superintendent have been planned for March 4 and 5.

— Donna St. George

The District
‘Fierce advocate’ for charters to step down

Robert Cane, the executive director of a pro-charter school advocacy group in the District, has announced he is leaving his job after more than 16 years.

During his tenure at Friends of Choice in Urban Schools, charter enrollment in the city has grown from about 3,600 to more than 38,000, representing 44 percent of public school students in the city.

“It’s very hard for me to leave the charter school movement . . . to step out of the role I have had for so long. I’m so committed to what we have done here,” Cane said.

The 67-year-old former West Coast lawyer said he plans to move to Nevada to be close to his extended family.

— Michael Alison Chandler

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The percentage of University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School MBA students who are women, the highest of all top business schools in the United States, according to MBA50.com. An effort is underway at the University of Maryland to get its MBA classes to 50 percent by 2020, from about 32 percent now.