Middle School Talented and Gifted Programs Need Improvement

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The views expressed are the author’s own and do not represent the views of Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools.

by Khadija Bowen

My daughter wakes up at 6:30 every morning. She gets herself ready for school but she does not have to do much, because she has to wear a uniform — plain khaki pants and plain green polo shirt. She cannot make her hair fancy because the school dress code says headbands and other accessories that make her an individual are strictly prohibited. Before she runs out of the house, she grabs her mesh backpack and goes to her bus stop at 7:45. This school only allows clear or mesh backpacks for the children’s own protection. On her hour-and-a-half long bus ride, she must wear ear phones and play music to drown out the chaos and drama around her.

She hopes there will not be a fight, but she cannot tell because of all the noise and horseplay that is happening around her. She gets to school and keeps her head down because that was the advice she was given from older friends that also attended this school. “Keep your head down, try to ignore the drama and stay close to a few good friends,” they told her. Even though there are cameras everywhere, watching their every movement, somehow violence is still prevalent and random locker searches are still necessary. So she continues to follow the instructions and walk to her class hoping there will not be any drama today, but she has lost confidence that this advice will prove useful.

She used to be confident that her inside knowledge was key to navigating the hallways and common areas at this school, but that was prior to her good friend being trampled during an altercation that she was not a part of. Her friend was sent home from school and needed medical attention due to the incident. The young girl returned to school the next day with a boot on her foot. My daughter and her friends followed the instructions but my daughter’s friend still got hurt. Now my daughter wonders, “Will I be next?”

Today, she gets to her classes unscathed, but she is only partially stimulated because either she has a substitute or her teachers are so burnt out that they have lost the enthusiasm to develop stimulating lesson plans. She has had a substitute in English for most of the year, so she knows there won’t be much to do in that class, but she focuses on the instruction as much as she can and completes whatever she is tasked to do. In the past, math has been so unengaging that she and her friends paint their nails or just have side conversations to get through that class period. Finally, the day is nearly complete. After the last bell rings, she finds her iPod again, puts in her earphones, and prepares herself for the hour-and-a-half ride home.

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Prince George’s Association for TAG Supports County Executive’s Proposal to Fund PGCPS

IMG_6359The following is a statement from the board of the Prince George’s Association for Talented and Gifted Education, republished here with permission. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the owner of this website, Prince George’s County Advocates for Better Schools (PGCABS).

To view this statement on the PGTAG website, go here.

Statement from PGTAG Board

Supporting the County Executive’s  FY’2015-16 Budget to Fund PGCPS’ Strategic Plan

April 12, 2015

Prince George’s County Association for Talented and Gifted Education

(PGTAG), during its April board meeting, agreed to support County Executive Rushern Baker’s fiscal year 2015-16 budget to fund PGCPS’ strategic plan.

For far too long, our school system has been requesting only the local funding for what it thought it might receive vs. what is really required to improve the quality of PGCPS. This practice of requesting the minimal funding needed to continue with the status quo is called “maintenance of effort.”

Our students deserve more than “maintenance of effort.”  This constricted funding stream for our public education system has denied PGCPS the ability to gain momentum on a host of educational priorities critically needed to create and maintain the kind of quality education system that is needed for the children of our county.

We don’t take our decision making—to support funding the budget through the lifting of our local property tax cap—lightly. But the cap is partially to blame for our limited success in the past. The four-decades long cap on property taxes means that we’ve been funding schools at the same percentage of dollars as we were in 1978.

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