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Better by the Dozen: Achievement Gap-Closing Efforts

Ike Leggett jumps on board the gap-closing bandwagon.

Last week, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett delivered his State of the County speech. Apparently, the county is in great shape. You can read a full transcript of what Leggett said here.

Here's what The Washington Post reported about the speech.

In fact, the county is in such great shape, Leggett plans to put more money into expanding “Excel Beyond the Bell,” a “successful” (his word) after-school program that aids in closing the achievement gap. Leggett’s plan is to expand the program into all county middle schools.  Well, who knew that this program closed gaps?  Of course, I doubt that anyone can produce any real empirical evidence to support the use of the word “successful,” but then who cares about such things?

But here is what I find really interesting: Next month, the county’s Office of Legislative Oversight will update a 2008 OLO report that basically concluded that while Montgomery County Public Schools narrowed some gaps, the school system missed closing gaps on a long list of key achievement outcomes. My prediction is the updated 2013 OLO report will come to the same conclusion.

Click here for the 2008 report.

And so, before expanding anything and spending more money, wouldn’t it be wise to wait to see what the OLO report has to say? No one is that wise in a county with endless supplies of cash.

Excel Beyond the Bell simply joins a long list of programs tripping over one another and claiming they close gaps. Perhaps what needs to be on OLO’s agenda next is a thorough review of all the program dollars we—taxpayers—pump into gap-closing programs and efforts. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

And for the record, we live in a county that seems to have an endless supply of programs claiming “success” at closing gaps (somewhere out there in ‘Google-land’ you can find these programs saying they closed gaps).

Here is my quick list—a baker’s dozen—of programs, or efforts, or “stuff” that makes the claim of closing gaps. (The list is in alphabetical order.):

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Shirley Bowers April 08, 2013 at 08:41 PM
My concern here is what is next? I think that the Montgomery County Executive will try as Prince George's did and won in Annapolis to take over the school system. I sure hope not.
Joseph Hawkins April 08, 2013 at 09:14 PM
I don't see the County Executive in MoCo doing what the PG Executive did. The major differences are outcomes--MoCo is viewed as a high performing school district, so why would the Executive take any thing over?
jag April 09, 2013 at 06:01 AM
Indeed.

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