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Letter by the Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County, Inc. to the Montgomery County Board of Education in opposition to proposed budget cuts to MCPS magnet programs. January 27, 2010.
Letter by the Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County, Inc. to the Montgomery County Board of Education in opposition to proposed budget cuts to MCPS magnet programs. January 27, 2010.

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January 27, 2010
Via email: boe@mcpsmd.org 
Board of EducationMontgomery County Public SchoolsRockville, Maryland
Aligning the Operating Budget to MCPS’ Commitment to Magnet Students
Board members:The Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County, Inc. urges that theMCPS 2010-2011 Budget maintain funding for Center, Magnet, immersion, IB and other special program (collectively referred to below as “Magnet” programs) staffing andtransportation. Failure to do so would harm Magnet students, highlight MCPS’ actual policy of serving only part of its students and renege on your recent promise of equity.
Proposed and threatened cuts.
The proposed Budget, and the additionalreductions threatened by Superintendent Weast, would:1. Eliminate five Magnet teaching positions (10 percent of current Magnetteaching positions);2. Threaten elimination of an additional 12.9 Magnet teaching positions;3. Threaten reduction of secondary school extracurricular stipends;4. Threaten elimination of Magnet transportation.As the Montgomery Blair High School Magnet Foundation, Inc. pointed out in itsJanuary 19, 2010 letter to the Board, the proposed teacher elimination, compoundingeliminations over the preceding two years, would have the cumulative effect of reducingMagnet teaching positions by 35 percent since FY 2008.
Harm to Magnet students.
MCPS recognizes that Magnet students work “at thevery highest levels of attainment;” have “unique learning needs;” and therefore “
markedly different programming.”
Our Call to Action
 page 37; 2003
University of Virginia Center Program Study Executive Summary
page 1;
 Policy IOA
C3(c). MCPSacknowledges that these “needs cannot easily be met in local schools.”
 AEI Draft Policy IOA
C.1.b(3), c(2). (MCPS does not serve even the gifted and talented students now left behind in the local schools, given these schools’ exclusive focus on the mid-level SevenKeys to College Readiness benchmarks.) The needs and requirements of Magnetstudents will not be met if the Magnet schools are further degraded or eliminated.
Highlight GT service elimination.
MCPS’ official service model is “acontinuum of programs and services,” of which Magnet programs are a part.
Our Call to Action
 pages 15-16; AEI
Draft Policy IOA.
 The continuum is delivered in the Magnets and in the local schools. The Magnetsserve the unique needs of those at the highest levels of attainment; the local schools servestudents at the mid-level Seven Keys benchmarks. The gifted and talented aspect of localschool education is limited to the William & Mary reading program, the curriculum blipsof the Middle School expansion courses and high school AP and IB programs. Thus,even before the proposed and threatened reductions, MCPS in fact offers not acontinuum, but two separate systems.MCPS’ ongoing initiatives to degrade the continuum include the proposed guttingof Policy IOA and illegal termination of gifted and talented identification.The grievous Magnet staff reductions and transportation elimination wouldhighlight the final implosion of MCPS’ model: continuum to one-size-fits-all.
Renege on Equity.
If elimination of Magnet transportation does not immediatelykill the Magnet program, it will penalize most those with least flexibility to arrange private transportation: poorer families—disproportionately African-American andHispanic.The Deputy Superintendent’s Advisory Committee called for MCPS to “examinethe institutional and external barriers to accessing GT programs and remedy them.”
 DSAC Report 
page 17. Transportation elimination erects insurmountable institutional barriers to equity. Thus MCPS forsakes its recent commitment to equity; it abandons the proclaimed organizational culture that protects the work of equity from “external factors”including “economic realities.”
Our Call to Action,
Framework for Equity andExcellence, page iii.
Budgetary constraints test proclaimed priorities. The proposed andthreatened reductions to the Magnet programs demonstrate that MCPS remains, at best,“ambivalent about meeting the special needs of gifted and talented students.”
 Report of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on the Education of the Gifted & Talented,
 1994, page 2. The reductions hurt Magnet students, and reveal as hollow MCPScontinuum model and equity commitment. The Gifted and Talented Association of Montgomery County urges that you serve Magnet students and reaffirm these bedrock strategy and policy priorities.
 _____________________________________ Frederick Stichnoth, President

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