Members of the Montgomery County Council , concerned about the student achievement gap, focused Monday on how to ensure that the number of non-teaching public school staff keeps pace with rising student enrollment during budget talks with the Board of Education.
Councilwoman Valerie Ervin a member of the council’s education committee, which was holding the work session with school leaders, said she was especially worried that Montgomery was falling behind on staffing guidance counselors, pupil personnel workers and school psychologists. The school system shed several of these positions during the economic recession.
“There is a concern to me as it relates directly to the achievement gap,” Ervin said.
Last month, the council’s Office of Legislative Oversight released a report showing the achievement gap — the educational performance gulf between white and Asian students and black and hispanic students — in Montgomery County has widened in certain measures.
The pressure to close that gap will only increase as the county’s population grows and the school system will need to serve more students from lower-income families or students who speak English as a second language. Both of these populations are more likely to fall behind their peers academically.