CHALLENGE EVERY CHILD
Petition to the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education
March 28, 2011
The proponents of the so-called No Labels, No Limits! campaign advocate that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) end Grade 2 identification of gifted and talented students and end ability grouping; and that all students should receive the same instruction.
Grade 2 identification of gifted and talented students is required by Maryland law. While MCPS's new Student Instructional Program Planning and Implementation (SIPPI) tool helps match students with whatever programming MCPS may make available, “labeling the student” as the law requires ensures that these students remain a visible population within MCPS. It also provides a starting point for parents to access the wealth of available information and research about gifted and talented children.
We have seen the type of programming advocated by the No Labels, No Limits! campaign in MCPS’ one-size-fits-all middle school “advanced” courses; which do not match the needs and abilities of all students, regardless of the theoretical content these “advanced” courses make available. Most teachers cannot and do not successfully differentiate instruction across a wide range of classroom ability, and school and central office administrators do not and will not monitor and hold them accountable for the actual delivery of advanced material to students who need it. Gifted students in lower-performing schools are the least likely to gain access to actual advanced instruction in heterogeneous classes. Your Regulation IHB-RA and Policy IOA require the use of homogeneous grouping, which has all but disappeared in MCPS despite its demonstrable instructional benefits for students in all groups.
One-size-fits-all programming will not close the achievement gap; it only brings frustration and stagnation across the ability spectrum.
We therefore petition the Board of Education to:
the Grade 2 identification of gifted and talented students, and expand the use of formal instructional recommendations to include future grades;
2. Restore flexible homogeneous grouping of students with peers of similar ability and motivation in all local schools; and
3. Develop, implement and monitor higher level curricula and benchmarks matched to the needs and abilities of gifted children.
CHALLENGE EVERY CHILD.
[ Share the link to this page: http://www.gtamc.org/challenge-every-child. For background on the Challenge Every Child campaign, click here.]
Signatures at the time of submission to the BOE on 3/28/11: 723
As of 3/17/12: 892