Welcome
2010 marks the beginning of MCEF’s 11th year. As we continue to fight for equity and excellence in the educational experiences of all Montgomery County’s public school students, we look forward to an exciting year of work. We would like to update you on our current activities, as we continue our efforts to bring together a diversity of educational stakeholders to eliminate the gifted and talented label, move toward differentiated instruction of exciting, engaging, rich and challenging curricula, and learn how to assess learning wisely, fairly and equitably.


Policy Forums
MCEF has taken a break from our Best Practice and Policy Forums this year while we regroup and work on creating and implementing a strategic plan. We plan to kick off a new round of forums in the fall based on discussion of an exciting new policy brief: Universal Access to a Quality Education: Research and Recommendations for the Elimination of Curricular Stratification by Kevin Welner, Carol Burris and Jennifer Bezoza, produced by the Education and the Public Interest Center at University of Colorado Boulder and Education Policy Research Unit at the University of Arizona.  The brief looks at the success of detracking initiatives in Finland, San Diego and New York and creates a blueprint based on these success stories. We look forward to an in-depth discussion of whether and how we can apply these lessons in the education of children in Montgomery County.


No Labels Campaign
MCEF is working with Identity,GapBusters, MCPS Study Circles, Impact Silver Spring, MCEA, MCAASP, SEIU Local 500, NAACP, NAACP Parents' Council, Southern Christian Leadership Congress, and groups of MCPS students, to raise awareness about the MCPS global screening process and to advocate for the removal of the Gifted/Talented label in elementary school. Together we are developing a presentation to bring to our different constituencies. The presentation will include a video produced by Blair High School students in which students speak out about being “tracked” within MCPS. The coalition plans to bring our concerns to MCPS decision-makers and to hold a culminating post-election event to make clear to both new and old elected officials that MCPS’s  labeling injures children, reinforces racial and economic segregation, and is unacceptable in 2010. MCEF has received a generous grant from the Sanford and Doris Slavin Foundation to fund the work of this campaign.


Staying in Touch
We welcome your feedback and suggestions about the direction MCEF is taking and what we are doing.  Call us at 240 472-8733 or contact us by email at evie@mcef.org.
 
Also, we would love hear to your reactions and comments to the articles in this Newsletter and to our website, http://www.mcef.org.  
 
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Join Us!
MCEF needs you.  Become an education activist, working for equity and excellence in Montgomery County and beyond.  Call 240 472-8733 or email evie@mcef.org.
Differentiated Instruction Pilot Program
As labeling becomes a thing of the past, MCPS must ensure that a high quality, engaging, and enriched curriculum is delivered to all children, using differentiated instruction in heterogeneous classrooms.  MCEF has been bringing differentiated instruction experts and success stories to the county’s education stakeholders for 10 years. Last spring we organized a field trip for education leaders to the University of Virginia to meet with Carol Ann Tomlinson, to craft a strategy for moving DI forward within MCPS. To that end, MCEF has taken on an advisory role in crafting a differentiated instruction training program for teachers, gathering current and pertinent research in order to support MCPS teacher leaders in developing a pilot program. The culminating conference of the No Labels campaign in the winter of 2011, will double as a kick-off for the differentiated instruction pilot, where national and local DI experts and practitioners will illustrate that every child can and will benefit from the strategies currently reserved for “gifted” children.


High School Assessment Reform
Assessment reform has taken over much of the education debate on a national level. How do we assess student learning? How does assessment impact instruction? How should assessment impact instruction? MCEF believes with many in Montgomery County that the HSAs do not provide an adequate answer to these questions. MCEF has brought assessment reform researchers and leaders to present and engage with the county education community at our forums; we have hosted student speak outs on the subject; we have worked with the MCEA and other groups to try to bring about assessment reform on a statewide level. In August, MCEF hosted a webinar (see related webinar with Linda Darling-Hammond at http://www.edutopia.org/assessment-linda-darling-hammond-webinar) for county education leaders with Stanford University’s Ray Pecheone to discuss performance assessment alternatives to high-stakes testing.  MCEF is continuing to gather information about effective alternatives and about the effects of high-stakes testing on students.


Montgomery County Education Forum • 12 Taft Court • Rockville, MD 20850
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