Report: Montgomery Co. efforts to close student achievement gaps ineffective

While more than half of Montgomery County, Maryland, students are black and Latino, many attend schools that lack in resources, according to a report released in December by the Office of Legislative Oversight.

The report also shows that many of those schools have a high percentage of students from impoverished families. The report states that the consensus among researchers is that higher-poverty schools tend to yield lower-levels of academic performance, especially among students of color and low-income students.

The findings highlight ineffective efforts to close achievement gaps since the last report was released in 2015.

When looking at proficiency in areas like math, literacy and physical well-being among kindergartners, only 35% of Latinos and 46% of black students met school readiness benchmarks compared to two-third of Asian children and 70% of white students.

Among Latino students, 78% attend elementary schools that are struggling. When looking at how students performed in English, up to 79% of white and Asian students were on track compared to only 39% of black and Latino students.

As for proficiency in middle school math, up to 56% of white and Asian students were on track compared to less than about 17% of Latino and black students.

There’s now an effort to prioritize concerns like studying school boundary lines and allocating funds to provide more resources for special education. Teacher salaries and low-income students are also a focus for lawmakers.

There will be a meeting between the county council and school leaders on Jan. 27.

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