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Montgomery County Gifted Issues In the News

Mentions of gifted issues in Montgomery County, MD....

Campaign again "Gifted and Talented" revives longstanding debate
Montgomery Gazette, March 9, 2011
Nora Cartland is pleased with the instruction her two children have received as students labeled by Montgomery County Public Schools as "Gifted and Talented." Eric Marx, on the other hand, is unhappy with the education his two Gifted and Talented students are getting.Now, the philosophical clash between Cartland and Marx is heating up...

SGR Testifies Against GT Label:  MCEF and SGR brings campaign to remove GT label to public BOE meeting
Silver Chips, March 1, 2011
Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB) Alan Xie spoke with members of Blair's Students for Global Responsibility (SGR) about the Gifted and Talented (GT) label Today. SGR is working with the countywide organization Montgomery County Education Forum (MCEF) to remove the GT label in elementary schools across the county.  According to SGR sponsor George Vlasits, the club is currently working to inform Blazers about how the Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) system begins separating students in second grade..."

SMOB Alan Xie visits Blair:  SGR invites Xie to have a roundtable discussion on tracking
Silver Chips, February 22, 2011
"On behalf of Blair's Students for Global Responsibility (SGR), SGR President senior Kirstyn Ross gave a testimony at a public Board of Education (BOE) meeting in Rockville yesterday against Montgomery Count Public Schools’ (MCPS) practice of tracking students using the Gifted and Talented (GT) program label...."

All Together Now
Education Next, Mike Petrelli, Winter 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 1
The greatest challenge facing America’s schools today isn’t the budget crisis, or standardized testing, or “teacher quality.” It’s the enormous variation in the academic level of students coming into any given classroom. How we  as a country handle this challenge says a lot about our values and priorities, for good and ill. Unfortunately, the issue has become enmeshed in polarizing arguments about race, class, excellence, and equity. What’s needed instead is some honest, frank discussion about the trade-offs associated with any possible solution.  Article looks at how "differentiation" is working at Piney Branch Elementary School in Takoma Park, MD.

MCEA Building Reps Endorse "No Labels, No Limits" Campaign

MCEA School Notes blog, October 13, 2010
'Call on Board of Education to Eliminate the Gifted/Talented label in elementary school
MCEA Building Reps voted overwhelmingly last Wednesday in favor of endorsing the “No Labels, No Limits” Campaign to end the screening of all second grade students as either “gifted and talented” or not “gifted and talented”...'

What's with the new U.S. News high school list?
Washington Post, Jay Mathews Class Struggle Blog, December 11, 2009

Why GT Classes are not enough:  The Warren Buffet Case
Washington Post, Jay Mathews Class Struggle Blog, December 10, 2009
Montgomery County is offering advanced programs to just about anyone who wants them.

Leaving Public School: One Child's Story
Takoma Voice, October 2009

Denise Jones was an NAACP Parents Council Representative.  She speaks candidly about gifted education in MCPS and why she moved her daughtet to private school for sixth grade, three years ago.

'Without Skipping a Grade"

Gifted Exchange Blog, September 17, 2009
"If Montgomery County has a systemwide model in order to ensure that no one need (horrors!) skip a grade, this seems to show that the prejudice is alive and well."

Cited District Does Have Options for "Acceleration"
Education Week, September 15, 2009
Kay Williams of AEI argues that contrary to the impression created, “acceleration is already an integral part of the program options in Montgomery County public schools. The district’s systemwide model for acceleration ensures that students can access an appropriate, above grade-level curriculum every day without skipping a grade.”

Parent Advocate says his daughter should be allowed to skip grades: School system would enroll her in advanced elementary classes

Gazette.net, August 26, 2009

Update:  No back to school for gifted 10-year-old
The Examiner (Opinion), August 19, 2009

Whatever happened to grade skipping? Accelerating the Gifted in a Time of Tight Budgets
Education Week, August 11, 2009
"In Montgomery County, Md., the debate is more existential, with the district considering abandoning its practice of labeling 2nd graders as gifted or not gifted."

Asian-American parents urged to speak out on education: Proposal to change ‘gifted' program spurs debate

Gazette.net, March 11, 2009
The head of an advocacy group challenged Asian-American parents last week to be more vocal on "gifted and talented" instruction and other issues.

Well-Connected Parents Take on School Boards: Web-Savvy Activists Push for Educational Change

Washington Post, January 30, 2009; Page A01
"Other Montgomery parents are organizing online around issues such as gifted or special education, and they keep close tabs on pending program changes."

When the Label is Gifted, the Debate is Heated

Washington Post, January 22, 2009; Page GZ03

Parents, schools weigh ‘Gifted and Talented' label:  Some favor dropping the designation in favor of more advanced classes; others fear lowered academic expectations
Gazette.net, December 24, 2008
Includes quote from Fred Stichnoth, GTA representative at-large

Montgomery's Treatment of Gifted Students
Washington Post, Monday, December 22, 2008; Page A20

Letters to the Editor, including letter by GTA co-President Eric Marx

Montgomery Erasing Gifted Label: Implications Concern Some Parents
Washington Post,
Tuesday, December 16, 2008; Page B01

Montgomery County Schools Try Scrapping "Gifted" Label:  Two schools screen but don't label students
NBCwashington.com, December, 16, 2008

Board of Education Issues Statement in Response to Washington Post Story, ‘Montgomery Erasing Gifted Label’
December 16, 2008
Statement from Shirley Brandman, President of the Montgomery County Board of Education, and Patricia O’Neill, Vice President of the Board and Chair of the Policy Committee

"Gifted" Label Isn't the Problem

September 7, 2006

Last year, the Equity in Education Coalition formed in Montgomery County to promote the elimination of the gifted and talented designation for students, arguing that the label gives some students an unfair advantage. Many do not agree.

The Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County Inc. supports gifted and talented programs. Julie Lees of Silver Spring, president of the association, responds below to an Aug. 24 guest column by coalition members Evie Frankl and Denise Young.

In their column, Evie Frankl and Denise Young state that the achievement gap is caused by second-grade global screening and the gifted and talented "label." They offer no other explanation for variations in test scores before screening occurs or why the gap exists. However, African American scholar Donna Y. Ford, in her book "Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students," says that early identification is an important factor in boosting the achievement of gifted black students.

'Gifted' Label Takes a Vacation in Diversity Quest -
Washington Post, February 22, 2006
Middle school magnet programs in Montgomery County have traditionally operated as schools within schools, offering specialized curriculum to a few select students -- who have been mostly Asian and white.  But this fall, educators decided to try a different approach. Instead of selecting a few hundred students for traditional school magnets, officials opened magnet programs at three middle schools to everyone.

Dangerous Minds
Washington Post, December 5, 1999
"The Hovens felt a system as good as Montgomery County's could handle one more bright child. But some administrators wanted Niels to adjust to elementary school, not vice versa. That was a mistake. John Hoven became co-president of the county's Gifted and Talented Association and has been bedeviling educators on behalf of precocious children ever since."

Divided on New Math Program
October 17, 1999
...John Hoven, head of a group of parents of gifted and talented children leading the charge against Connected Math in Montgomery County, calls it "fuzzy math." "The students may be having a good time," he said. "But they're not learning anything."