Passing the wheel to MCPS for driver’s education

Jan. 13, 2020, 11:53 p.m. | By Rajit Mukhopadhyay | 4 years, 6 months ago

A new proposal drives for safety and general behind-the-wheel instruction

On Dec. 3, the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Board of Education passed a driver’s education proposal presented by the student member of the board (SMOB), Nate Tinbite. The SMOB’s second successful resolution pushes Superintendent Jack R. Smith to explore partnerships with companies for the implementation of driver’s education classes in MCPS schools.

The motion directs the superintendent to explore partnerships to bring driver's education back to MCPS (courtesy of Catherine Lo). Photo courtesy of Catherine Lo.

Offering driver’s education is not foreign to MCPS — in the mid-1990s, drivers-ed was part of the county curriculum allowing students to meet Maryland’s driver’s license requirements. “Montgomery County used to offer this crucial life skill, and the state requires driver’s education to acquire a license. [Through my proposal] the school system can go back to its roots,” Tinbite said.

Dr. John Davis, physics teacher at Blair, took driver’s education when it was available in MCPS, but one of his daughters took the course through the current system outside of school. “From that experience for family, it was much better the way I took driver’s-ed.” he explained.

Without an in-school system, students looking to obtain a driver’s license must take costly driver’s education classes from private companies such as. This is problematic for those who cannot afford it. “This movement is most important to our impoverished students,” Tinbite said. “Driver’s ed costs hundreds of dollars elsewhere and this is a big economic disparity.” 

With the passage of his resolution, Tinbite wants to develop a driver’s education system that also addresses pedestrian safety. This would be extending the course past the standard requirements set by Maryland to address the prevalent issue of accidents on the road.

Through the new curriculum, Tinbite hopes to remind students about the prevalent dangers of carelessness on the roads. “Recent countywide incidents are alarming. They are so frequent and need to be addressed in schools,” Tinbite said. “I want to educate on the impacts of negligence.”

With the MCPS budget season’s conclusion approaching, Tinbite aims to gather opinions about his resolution and student issues. “The budget can be one of the most important votes that I can take during this term. I want to push the issues that students have,” he stated.

Tinbite plans to visit schools to speak with students looking to incite change across MCPS operations and give recommendations for changes to be made around the county. “Right now I hope to start going into schools and collect student feedback on budget priorities. My current priority is to get these set before we push the budget to the board,” he said.

Last updated: Jan. 13, 2020, 11:53 p.m.

Tags: SMOB MCPS driver's ed Nate Tinbite

Rajit Mukhopadhyay. Hey, this is Rajit. As a Blair junior you can often find me playing tennis, hanging out with friends, or in the 240s hallway traffic jam. More »

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