Thursday, July 24, 2014

Playing God with MCPS Students: Only 5 Students at 2 Bethesda/Potomac Schools Granted Opportunity to Learn

Let's see, what was the big announcement from MCPS recently?  
Oh, yes. From Education Week:
Maryland's Montgomery County Public Schools will buy 40,000 Chromebooks and other digital devices for students, embarking on what is believed to be the country's largest K-12 computing initiative featuring the popular—and relatively inexpensive—new laptop computers...
Yea! Largest in country! MCPS is No. 1!! MCPS is No. 1!!

Oh, wait.

That is, unless you have a child with autism who is unable to communicate.  Sorry, if you have a child who is unable to communicate and needs assistive technology to be able to participate in school MCPS and Montgomery County do not have technology for your child.  

MCPS and Montgomery County only have enough money for 5 students at two Bethesda/Potomac schools to have the opportunity to learn using assistive technology. The pilot project has been wildly successful, but rather than adding any new students to this program, MCPS and Montgomery County will just stick with the 5 that were in the pilot.

Maybe MCPS is actually No. 2.

Here is the statement on the Autism Communication and Technology Pilot that is in the packet that is being presented to the Montgomery County Council's Education Committee on Monday, July 28th.   

Autism Communication and Technology Pilot: As reported in the previous status update, the pilot intends to use new methods, some of which are highly reproducible, as well as new tablet applications to improve the educational outcomes of non-communicative students diagnosed with autism. The pilot has completed a full year and has been tremendously successful. The students are operating at or near grade level in an inclusive setting. The pilot has even sought and gained approval for the students to take their Maryland State Assessments via their tablet devices, something that had not been previously planned.
Moving the pilot into a new stage has been an obvious choice and in the past several months the project has faced a decision regarding what to accomplish in the next stage. The pilot currently consists of five students at two elementary schools and rather than add additional students we have decided to focus the next stage on transitioning the current students to middle school. The Innovation Program will help fund the additional training needed for paraeducators and seek opportunities to add afterschool supports through the Department of Recreation

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