Education provides the single greatest opportunity someone has to change their life. Let’s make that possible for all of us by closing the gaps that prevent some of our students from furthering their education. Montgomery County must provide our teachers and our schools with the resources they need to ensure that our students graduate from high school ready to thrive in college or a career, including the “middle skill” jobs that require more than high school but less than college.
Many of our schools are overcrowded. MCPS has found that by 2031, eight Montgomery County high schools – BCC, Blair, Walter Johnson, Einstein, Kennedy, Northwood, Whitman, and Wheaton – will be over capacity by an estimated 3,455 students. The overcrowding at Walter Johnson in Bethesda, with a projected shortage of 965 seats, would be severe.
We need to reopen closed schools and build new schools when the County capital budget allows. I pledge to scour the capital budget to find the funding. MCPS is studying solutions such as reopening Woodward High School to address the problem, and the Council must work closely with the Board of Education and Superintendent Jack Smith to ensure that communities have the necessary infrastructure as development goes forward.
Achievement differences start early, and children who enter kindergarten behind their peers may never catch up.
I support universal pre-K. The County’s Office of Legislative Oversight recently found that the benefits of high-quality pre-k programs include substantial academic gains. Pre-K programs also result in increased academic and employment participation among parents and help to close achievement gaps by income, race, and ethnicity.
A strong early education system can improve school and life success for our children and have a positive and significant economic and educational impact in the community, generating substantial cost savings for society. Researchers estimate that every $1 spent on high-quality pre-k yields a return on investment of up to $8 for children with family incomes below the federal poverty level. For the lowest-income children, a year of high-quality pre-k yields a benefit of $84,000 per child – including reduced K-12 spending on special education, remediation, and school support costs; reduced criminal justice and child welfare costs; and increased future income for pre-k participants in adulthood.
Increased educational achievement results in greater earning power and increased productivity in adulthood, more involvement in the fabric of the community, and decreased reliance on government safety net programs. The quality and availability of early care also impact workplace productivity and absenteeism.