Sunday, July 12, 2020
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More counselors, student voice sought in Montgomery

A student at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland, told the Montgomery County Public Schools board last month that the school system should provide funds for more counselors for students in the upcoming fiscal year, The Pitch reports.

The board’s proposed budget increases the current total funding by about $67.3 million, but Drew Skilton, a junior at Walter Johnson and candidate for next year’s student board member seat, said it doesn’t put money where it is needed.

“The number of counselors and psychologists in the MCPS system is just not keeping up with student body growth,” Yael Hanadari-Levy, the student newspaper’s editor in chief, quotes him as saying.

James Bradley, one of the (adult) representatives of the Walter Johnson cluster of schools, agreed, adding: “Every school needs psychologists and social workers, all across the country. Our kids need help, and the consequences of not providing it are devastating.”

Students should attend school board meetings, not only to see how local control in government works but to let their voice be heard by board members and other education stakeholders and members of the public if they decide to speak about an issue.

“With one exception, the student member of the board, these board members don’t sit in our seats, see what we see, and encounter the issues we face every day as MCPS students,” Mr Skilton was quoted as saying. “The students who testify bring a first-person point of view to these hearings. It is important that the board, [MCPS Superintendent of Schools] Dr [Jack] Smith, and his staff hear from the students.”

Montgomery County Public Schools is the largest school district in Maryland and about the 17th-largest in the country. Its 208 schools serve more than 154,000 students.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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