Imagine a school that admits students without regard to race or legacy and instead considers the educational facilities students have available to them — one that balances opportunities and results instead of unfairly favoring certain groups of students over others. It's not just everyone's dream college — it is Blair's own Math, Science and Computer Science Magnet Program, which just recently chose its class of 2011. Every year, the Magnet selection committee receives around 800 applications from students representing 40 to 50 middle schools across the county. Of these candidates, about one out of every eight students is accepted and only 25 to 30 are placed in a waiting pool, making it one of the most selective Magnet programs in the nation. Although one of the most competitive programs in the country, the Magnet has an admissions process that surpasses those of most top-tier colleges in equity and impartiality.
Shirley Brandman (At-Large) and Judy Docca (District 1) will join current Board of Education members Stephen Abrams (District 2), Patricia O'Neill (District 3) and Sharon Cox (At-Large), Student Member Sarah Horvitz, as well as Nancy Navarro, who was elected last month for the first time but appointed in 2004 to fill the District 5 seat. Chris Barclay was also appointed this week to fill Valerie Ervin's District 4 seat. She resigned after she was elected to fill the District 5 seat on the Montgomery County Council. In its next term, the Board has a long list of issues to address, such as eliminating the achievement gap, decreasing the number of portables, reducing gang activity, preparing for the High School Assessments (HSAs) and, perhaps most importantly, helping county schools, Blair included, to meet No Child Left Behind standards. The following are condensed responses from Silver Chips interviews with Brandman and Docca via e-mail.
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Last year, 284 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students attended Blair — more than any other school in Montgomery County. Had the Maryland State Department of Education's (MSDE) new requirement, which mandates that every student pass the English, Government, Biology and Algebra HSAs, been in effect last year, only nine of Blair's ESOL students — a mere 3.2 percent — would have been eligible to graduate.
"Sleeping at her desk, senior Xenadra looks just like the Blazers who surround her. At first glance, it's tough to tell that she is in fact a drug-addicted gang member and illegal immigrant from a war-torn nation, struggling to come to grips with her bisexuality in an overcrowded school."
Ranking the quality of a school's staff and administration by the number of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) tests students have taken is like evaluating the skill of a soldier based on the number of rounds he has fired.
Asthma-inflicted child trains relentlessly to prove he can fight. Resulting superhuman martial artist vanquishes all foes. Life changing event prompts re-evaluation of selfish reasons for endless violence. Fighter emerges moral and honorable, kicks butt for more socially acceptable cause.
Every year, Blair teachers struggle to complete Advanced Placement (AP) course curricula and review for exams in time for the AP tests in early May. Every year, Blair students and teachers have significantly less time to prepare for the exams than many others across the country. And every year, the College Board determines that there is not enough nationwide support for a dual-date policy, which would allow the administration of the exams in early May and again in late May.
Members of Congress have once again proved that they are unable to differentiate between the country's best interest and their own.
Court of Appeals Judge Samuel Alito, a staunch conservative, replaced moderate Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on Jan. 31. In his career as a judge, Alito's radical ideology has fueled an archaic, reactionary interpretation of the Constitution that he seems to value over the common good of the American people.
Last winter break, social studies teacher David West had bought plane tickets to pre-Katrina New Orleans and was looking forward to taking his wife on a romantic anniversary trip. But, instead of relaxing to authentic jazz in the French Quarter, West found himself living every student's and teacher's nightmare: spending the treasured time away from school cooped up at home writing and studying.
MCPS is establishing a Pre-Engineering Program, which will be available to sophomores next year, intended to reduce the national shortage of engineers.
To reclaim the governorship, Maryland Democrats need to unite behind a strong candidate. County Executive Doug Duncan, who announced his candidacy last month, is the wrong choice, because he has worked harder for real estate developers than for the county's citizens.
Every year, barely one in three special-education students passes each of the three Maryland High School Assessments (HSAs) now required for graduation, according to the Maryland Report Card web site.