Saturday, January 19, 2013


Sad news from the community of parents advocating on behalf of their "gifted" children in Montgomery County Public Schools.

The Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County has elected new leadership.  Congratulations to Patrick Dunn and his board.

Unfortunately, with the election of the new leadership, the organization has decided to become part of the solution and not be part of the problem.  The oldtimers advocacy just didn't work.  It was too slow and too cumbersome.  Time to change directions.

Unfortunately, this perspective is a bit naive.  Why is this an either/or situation?  Why must parents decide?  Doesn't strategy depend on the issue?

Years ago, when my kids were starting out in MCPS, I remember getting warnings from the elementary school about joining GTA.  They were too vocal, too contentious, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, etc.  Yet, sitting at PTA meetings and being a good parent just seemed to involve more fundraising on behalf of the school.   Yet, even running the science fair for my then first grade child seemed to get me in trouble.  I was called into the principal's office more than my kids ever were during their entire MCPS careers.

I've learn to work within the system and outside of the system.  Its the only way to survive if you want your child to leave MCPS with a good education and a sane parent.  So I am even further saddened by the views of the current MCCPTA Gifted Child committee chair.  Yes, I too held this position many many years ago - does that mean I am an old timer too? 

Her need to put down other organizations, cross postings to listserves, seems to forget the history of  an organization like Parents Coalition started 'back in the day."  PC was formed by several groups representing the spectrum of educational issues - GT, special ed, curriculum, etc.  Together we believed we could be more effective than if we were vying for the same limited resources.

So, take what you read on GTA letters and from MCCPTA with a pinch of salt, and remember.  Organizations such as Parents Coalition remain as another source of support.  And we will never tell you not to cross post to their lists.



  1. The only way to make MCPS more responsive to parents and taxpayers is to change the BOE. I don't think working with MCPS staff will change their mindset around heterogeneous grouping , acceleration of the 'few', or any other issue. The GT community is also burdened because it is too small of an interest group to get much attention. The lack of respect is clear when BOE members like Patricia O'Neill can openly insult GT parents with little consequences.

    To me, the BOE seems open to criticism around GT, special Ed, spending priorities that place technology and teacher pay over class sizes, Pearson/C2.0 rollout, etc. IMHO, GT activists and other groups would be better served if they focused on changing the BOE in a coordinated fashion, instead of working with an MCPS staff that has no incentive to change.

  2. Good time to break out a copy of the movie Stepford Wives.


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