MCPS rightly works toward reforming school zone redistricting process


photo courtesy of Creative Commons

MCPS is currently in the process of evaluating its school zone redistricting process. They should move forward with necessary reforms.

Rochelle Berman, Assistant Copy Editor

The Montgomery County Board of Education is looking to change the way they draw school zones to ensure that facilities across the county are being spread equitably, that each school zone is racially and socioeconomically diverse and that students live in close proximity to their schools. 

It seems obvious that this analysis should be carried out considering that the outcome would determine whether redrawing the zones would hurt or help Montgomery County residents.

The first public informational meeting on the issue was held on Dec. 4, 2019, where the Board announced their plans to analyze current boundaries. The analysis would research aspects such as racial and socioeconomic diversity in schools, if resources are being spread equitably and if students are being sent to the school closest to them.

Research across the country has shown that a tremendous number of educational boards create their school zones in order to exacerbate or simply recreate inherent segregation based on race and socioeconomic status in different regions. Changing the school zones in Montgomery County would improve the diversity in each school, ultimately creating a level playing field for all.

After the idea was introduced, parents predominantly from white, affluent families marched into the meeting to advocate against the prospect of new school districts. Their main reason for this was a fear that altering school zones would lower their homes’ value and increase the possibility that their predominantly white schools could be mixed with students of different races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Since it is the Board’s job to prevent overcrowding in schools, that facilities are adequate and that the demographic mix is appropriate, this study should go forward. Parents should not try to stop this because of fears that are unrelated to the quality of education that students receive in Montgomery County Public Schools.

Diversity is especially important in today’s world. If students are put in an environment with people from other races and socioeconomic backgrounds from an early age, they will experience firsthand that one’s educational potential does not rely on the color of their skin or how much money their parents earn.

It is vital for Montgomery County to seriously consider the idea of changing the school zones in order to expose students to people of different races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds from the start and to give families from all backgrounds, not just white, affluent backgrounds, the same opportunities for a good education.