Democrat for County Council District 1
 

Education

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 those jobs that require more than high school but less than college. 

 
 

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Overcrowding

Many of our schools are overcrowded, and classes are too large.

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.

Our most important priority in the capital budget is school facilities. The Council must work closely with the Board of Education and Superintendent Jack Smith to ensure that communities have the necessary school capacity as development goes forward, with decisions made before construction. We need to build new schools, reopen closed schools, and consider innovative approaches such as using existing, vacant building stock.  


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Early Care and Education

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.


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Child Care

I was a working mother, and I’m acutely aware that affordable, high-quality child care is essential to enable parents to get and keep a job and to give children a strong start toward success in school and life. This is fundamental to the economic security of women and families and it’s central to the economic health of our county.

Eleven million children younger than age five are in some form of child care in the United States. There are 67,000 children under age five in Montgomery County. Maryland had 4,042 children on a waiting list for child care assistance as of February 2017.

The need for adequate and affordable child care is one of the most pressing issues facing working parents – a year of child care for a young child can cost more than in-state college tuition. When parents don't have access to affordable child care, it directly affects their ability to participate in the workforce, and that, in turn, affects employers. Some parents who would like to work simply can’t. Their desire to pursue career paths and higher education can be curtailed because child care is too expensive or not available. Especially for working women, child care difficulties can be an obstacle to working full time and the ability to earn higher wages.

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 impacts workplace productivity and absenteeism.

In our concern to provide coverage for working parents and educate our children, we must not lose sight of the child care workers we are trusting to help raise them. They are often working parents themselves, and they deserve a living wage and access to suitable training.

I pledge to make sure that the county examines best practices around the country and identifies what we can do at the local level to expand child care options, availability, and training.


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K-12 and Career Education

We must provide our K-12 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 jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. 

MCPS career-readiness programs should be expanded to address current economic realities. Not every student needs or wants a four-year degree. A recent Career and Technology Education (CTE) program review stated that K-12 schools should shift from “how do we prepare students for four-year college?” to “how do we prepare students to earn a postsecondary credential that gives them entry into the middle class and beyond?”


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Community College

I support free community college tuition within a need-based structure. That means grants for students from low- and moderate-income families, so that they can receive a college education without accumulating overwhelming student debt.

I also support consideration of targeted policies that result in more money for need-based aid from government and from private scholarship funds.

Targeted policies could include expanding the existing Pell Grant program; developing a more robust apprenticeship system for the skilled trades and other vocational sectors; establishing better incentives for employers to provide more extensive on-the-job training rather than depending on the higher education system to supply fully qualified workers; and providing more public support, including research and development funding, to innovators who are creating online, low-cost, and customized alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education.