Monday, November 5, 2012

I want Barclay to “Lance Armstrong MCPS.”

Senior Study Director, Westat. Former evaluation specialist, MCPS.

Vote on Tuesday!

On Thursday, The Washington Post endorsed its three picks
for the Montgomery County school board. You can find the Post endorsements here.
This blog is not an endorsement.
Nonetheless, I could not let the Post endorsement of Christopher Barclay over Annita Seckinger (District 4) slide by without a little reality check. And so, the Post endorsed Barclay because they see him as a guy on a mission to close the achievement gap. Here is what the Post wrote about Barclay: 
We have differed with Mr. Barclay on his fiscal priorities, but his full-throated advocacy of the need to close the achievement gap that separates minority students gives the board a voice it cannot afford to lose.”
The Post and I are living in parallel universes because in my universe Barclay said Montgomery County Public Schools closed the achievement gap years ago. For the hard of hearing, let me repeated that in all caps: BARCLAY SAID MCPS CLOSED THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP. And without very much effort, one can find Barclay on the record saying MCPS closed its achievement gap. Here he is running his mouth two years ago to the Montgomery Blair High School student newspaper Silver Chips (
“According to Vice President of the Board of Education Christopher Barclay, MCPS satisfied part of the Broad Foundation’s criteria in closing the achievement gap for minority students. Over the years, MCPS has increased opportunities for students to take higher-level classes, given them the support that they needed to succeed and created a strong foundation in lower grades, he said. Barclay noted the hard work that has gone into achieving these many goals. 'It hasn’t been a magic bullet, that’s for sure. It’s been a lot of work by dedicated teachers,' he said.”
And so now, Barclay is some kind of close-the-gap superhero? I’m confused.
Now, the odds are very good that Barclay gets re-elected Tuesday—he is on the teachers union's "Apple Ballot" (those candidates get elected something like 95 percent of the time). And so if that happens, here is what I want from our gap busting superhero. I want Barclay to “Lance Armstrong MCPS.”  For the hard of hearing, again, let me repeat myself in all caps: LANCE ARMSTRONG MCPS. (For those who know nothing about Armstrong read this summary of his rise and fall.)
In short, I want Barclay to go back and revisit the Jerry Weast era, an era that he was part of for at least four to five years, and disown any awards and accolades that were bestowed on MCPS because MCPS said it closed the achievement gap. If MCPS did not close achievement gap—that is now what Barclay claims, then MCPS needs to own up to its dishonest recent past where it said it closed gaps.Here is one of my favorite links where former MCPS Superintendent Weast told the U.S Congress in January 2010 that MCPS closed all gaps.
And so if Barclay gets re-elected, and he does the above—actually Lance Armstongs MCPS, then I’ll personally show up at a board meeting in the future and present to him a superman cape. And if does none of this—well, the Post will still love him (they are clueless). But for me he will remain just another shady politician that we all should avoid walking down dark alleys with (or at least make the dude walk in front of you).

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