Equal Education A Struggle In MD, But Local Schools Make Strides - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Equal Education A Struggle In MD, But Local Schools Make Strides

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MARYLAND – Equal education for all students is one of the main focuses for schools across the country. However, across the state of Maryland, it's been a big struggle.

"Every child regardless of where they are born, or where they come from, or what they look like, should have equal access to that kind of a great education," says Attorney General Doug Gansler.

However, statistics show that is not the case. The state of Maryland currently has the second largest achievement gap in the country for kindergarten through twelfth grade.

"I think it's a problematic problem that we have to address," says Dr. John Frederickson, superintendent of Wicomico County public schools.

Wicomico County School District is making major strides to do so, but with so many variables, the task is not easy.

"It's really a difficult thing to ease out, it ranges greatly from class to class, building to building, and across our school system," says Dr. Frederickson. "It's so variable depending on a spectrum of issues."

Despite the difficulty, many changes are happening. Beginning in the fall, the school district implemented "Student Learning Objectives," in which teachers conduct a pre-test with their students, give their instruction, and then do a post-test. Afterwards, they break down the scores according to demographics.

"Each of them gains a full year of instruction and the kids at the bottom of the quartile get the chance to catch up," says Dr. Frederickson. "We get to see how one group is comparing with another group, and how are we making that gap smaller."

The school district has also increased their training for teachers to create more hands-on activities, projects, and break the students into smaller groups than they had before. They also have professional development coaches for every building, grade level, and subject level, along with specialists in reading and math.

"They get together and talk about what the teachers are doing, what worked, and what are the things that didn't work as well," says Dr. Frederickson.

The teachers then share what they learned on an electronic database called Moodle, which can store papers, lesson plans, and more. This way, if the teacher has a problem with a certain demographic or group of children, they can go on the site to figure out what worked well for other teachers. Dr. Frederickson says they have had Moodle for a few years, they are continuing to grow their use of it, which now has hundreds of lesson plans.

While a lot is happening inside the Wicomico County public schools, officials say, parents play a huge role in the success as well.

"Parents should work towards reading to their children every night, or making sure their child reads so they start to develop cognitive skills."

Dr. Frederickson says if a child has interests, in anything from art to sports, for parents to get them interested in education by linking what their child loves to constructive learning activities.

"Get engaged, if they express interest in anything, get them to the library and maybe get a book on it, or watch a video on it. A child may be more interested in reading something that's more interesting to them, so make it project-centered as opposed to reading the same thing over again."

For more on what the Wicomico County school district is doing, check out their website.

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