Figures show increase in MCPS diversity and poverty rates
The disparate academic and economic conditions amongst different races in Montgomery County were highlighted in the Fall 2003 report mailed to MCPS students and staff. The report also cited rises in diversity and academic achievement.
Of the 12,000 new MCPS students since 1999, 22 percent were black and 19 percent were Hispanic. The increase in diversity has made the achievement gap between whites, blacks and Hispanics in MCPS more pronounced. The report described, "The challenge is significant. Disparities by race and ethnicity are evident in nearly every assessment."
Through the Free and Reduced-price Meal System (FARMS), the School Board also detected a rise in poverty in certain parts of the county. The report revealed an almost unbroken swath of poverty zones "spanning from Takoma Park to Germantown." 78 percent of all elementary Hispanic students and 71 percent of all black elementary students live in these areas. These areas also contribute 75 percent of all elementary ESOL students.
Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) enrollment in MCPS is about 40 percent for blacks and Hispanics while Asians and whites are both at about 80 percent. There was also a rise the Algebra One or higher-level math completion rate for eight graders. The rate jumped from 41 percent in 2000 to 51 percent in 2003.
The report also described the current action that the county is taking in order to further improve schools. "This is the fourth year of a multi-year plan to improve students' academic achievement. The initiatives in the plan are based on Our Call to Action." These initiatives include, "average class sizes of 17:1 in the early elementary grades, professional staff development trainers in every school, curriculum audits, technology upgrades and a system of assessment and accountability."
Some other features of the report included a budget report, a facility construction bulletin, an overview of MCPS academic programs, a curriculum outline and an "at a glance" statistics section.
Kedamai Fisseha. Kedamai Fisseha sorely misses the computer lab where Silver Chips was born and is daily reborn. He is currently living and writing from London, England where he is glad for the chance to continue his participation in the organization. More »