All In: Pay It Forward
Be sure to tune in to the superintendent’s virtual community conversation on the budget: Tuesday, Dec. 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
In 1993, then Secretary of Education Richard Riley made a simple point: ”Our children are 20 percent of our population, but 100 percent of our future.”
So, if children and adolescents make up 100 percent of our future, it seems that the only wise choice is to pay it forward by ensuring that they have the knowledge, skills and care they need to thrive as they become adults.
“Pay it forward is a phrase that means to reward someone’s kindness toward you by being kind to someone else. The idea is that you do not hoard the kindness for yourself, or confine it only to a small circle of people. Instead, you spread the goodwill in order to affect as many people as possible.”
I meet people across this community every day who have high levels of education, who own businesses, who have been successful by any definition of the term, who work in every field of endeavor, and who say, “I went to Montgomery County Public Schools.” I always ask, “Which schools did you attend?” And they proudly tell me. Others tell me they moved here, established a home and all of their children graduated from MCPS. They go on to share where their children attended colleges, what their careers are, and how well their grandchildren are doing.
Funding the school system budget is one way that the Montgomery County community pays it forward.
During the December 4 Board of Education meeting, I shared the framework for the Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget.
On December 18, instead of having an in-person budget presentation to the community, I will present my recommended budget in a virtual community conversation. The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. and I, along with members of MCPS leadership, will answer your questions live. I hope you will take time to become familiar with this proposed budget and get involved in the process. Resources about the proposed budget and process are available on the MCPS website.
I know that my recommended budget is asking for a great deal of money—$2.65 billion dollars. This is a 2.1 percent increase over the current operating budget. We will use this money to support the well-being and learning of more than 163,000 prekindergarten through 12th grade students. It is a student-, classroom- and school-focused budget that reflects how we want adults to do their work and how students will learn and be cared for.
It is well known that this community has a long history of supporting students by providing access to opportunity and high levels of learning for so many students. Students of all races, cultures, languages, income levels and learning needs attend our schools and have generally done well. Unfortunately, however, while most students have access to opportunities and continue to do well in this school system, there are some who do not.
If you are a reader of my blog, you know I write about disparities in access and learning levels. These disparities exist and persist and are often predictable based on a student’s family income, race, culture, language or learning needs. Often referred to as opportunity or achievement gaps, illuminating and diminishing theses disparities must be our highest priority.
So, our Fiscal Year 2020 budget must fund programs, curricula and teaching that maintain the high levels of access and learning that so many have experienced and provide that level of access and learning to all. When we say all, we must simultaneously think of students in the individual and collective—all refers to each student, each student population, and the student population as a whole.
All means all is a moral imperative and a practical necessity. For this community to remain strong and vibrant, we must have educated and skilled residents who take advantage of opportunities, grapple with difficult problems, and engage in civic life. Until we get to all, we will never be where we need to be.
This budget supports 100 percent of our future as a strong, vibrant community where everyone has options, choices after high school graduation and can experience success in a career, in higher education and in our community. We have more than 163,000 students who count on us every day. We are their opportunity. We must pay it forward on behalf of all of them.
Good Read/Good Listen
As we all know, learning doesn’t stop when you become an adult. I am constantly learning about new ideas and exploring new perspectives. I do this through books, articles and podcasts. Each blog, I will share a few of the most interesting ones with you. Some have made me ask questions, some have irritated me; others have made me smile or frown. I hope they make you think critically and open doors to new information and ideas.
The Misguided Priorities of Our Educational System, The New York Times, 2018
Ryan Speedo Green: From Juvenile Delinquency to Opera Stardom, 60 Minutes, 2018