Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Education Activists Call For Equity Budget

December 11, 2012

Dr. Joshua Starr, Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools
Board of Education
Larry Bowers, Chief Operating Officer, MCPS
Doug Prouty, President, MCEA
Janet Gilman, President, MCCPTA
Nancy Navarro, President, County Council
Valerie Ervin, Chair, County Council Education Committee
Elaine Bonner-Tompkins, Senior Legislative Analyst, Office of Legislative Oversight
Montgomery County Legislative Delegation  

Equity budget, OLO Report, Core Values and Strategic Plan

Sirs and Madams:

MCPS’ preparation of an “equity budget” would be a timely complement to the forthcoming OLO achievement gap report and MCPS Strategic Plan revision.

The Superintendent’s 2013-2014 Operating Budget released today is a central document in the current course of strategic planning. Planning began with the Board’s tentative approval of new Core Values, and will continue both with the County Council Office of Legislative Oversight’s [OLO] reevaluation of MCPS’ achievement gap progress and Northeast and Downcounty Consortia programs and with the reformulation of the Strategic Plan for the Starr era.

The forthcoming OLO report is expected to show some, but insufficient, progress in closing the achievement gap, particularly in the Consortia. Your reformulated Strategic Plan must chart the path from the updated history and present status of the achievement gap to realization of your Core Value that “Outcomes should not be predictable by race or ethnicity.” The Strategic Plan should follow the Core Value commitment to “Distribute resources as necessary to provide extra supports and interventions so all students can achieve.”  It will be necessary to target more resources to close the achievement gap, particularly by reducing Consortia underperformance.

While the Operating Budget maps the general course of resource distribution over the coming year, it does not account (by major line item or strategy) for comparative red and green zone resource allocations.  This would reflect both higher cost differences (e.g., K-2 class size) and lower costs factors (e.g., teacher salaries attributable to lesser seniority) in the red zone relative to the green zone (the “equity budget”).  Preferably, the entire Operating Budget would be cross-walked to the Strategic Plan so that the cost of red and green zone strategies would be apparent.

The baseline understanding encapsulated in an equity budget is a necessary ground of your Strategic Plan, and would be a timely complement to the forthcoming OLO baseline understanding of the achievement gap and the Consortia.

Therefore, to facilitate strategic planning and promote political support for the Operating Budget and the Strategic Plan, MCPS should publish an equity budget by February 1.

Gordon Brenne Joseph Hawkins Frederick Stichnoth
Silver Spring Bethesda Silver Spring  

Javel “Jay” Wilson
Silver Spring

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