Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Inequities Discovered in Student Field Trips

Montgomery County public school students aren’t getting the same field trip experiences, with students in some poorer areas having fewer opportunities.
Students who go on field trips, regardless of their socioeconomic status, perform better in school, with nearly 60 percent reporting better grades and higher graduation rates, according to the nonprofit Student & Youth Travel Association.
The school system ensures all elementary schools have the opportunity to participate in at least one field trip, and many schools offer additional trips. But there are no similar guidelines at the high school level.
Cynthia Simonson, vice president of educational issues for the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, asked the school board at a recent public hearing to integrate field trip equity into new curriculum adopted earlier this month.
“We can do this better,” she said.
The school system estimates it would take $1.6 million to provide one trip per student — money that isn’t included in the proposed budget for next year.

County students took 2,099 field trips last school year to places across the region, such as the Maryland State House, colleges, national monuments and various museums, according to school data, which shows it costs an average of $300 to take a school bus on a single-day field trip, meaning the school system spent roughly $630,000 on buses for out-of-classroom experiences last school year...

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