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February 3, 2015 / Ciara Myers, Editor

MCPS Superintendent to step down

Montgomery County Public Schools will soon have a new leader as the current superintendent, Joshua P. Starr, will step down as head of Maryland’s largest school system next month (WaPo, 2/3):

Starr’s tenure also included the revelation that a majority of 30,000 high school students in the high-performing district failed their final exams in key math courses in 2013, a problem that has stymied school officials. The district also has been criticized for its handling of allegations of sexual abuses at county schools. Starr also drew public concern after he shelved a popular proposal to change high school bell times, leading the school board to ask him to come up with low-cost options.


Starr’s departure leaves the well-regarded school system without a leader at a time of surging enrollment, budget strain and changing academic standards. It also leaves many parents and advocates asking: If Starr was not the answer, what is the system looking for?

– Researchers from Duke University found that access to high-quality early childhood education programs can significantly reduce the number of students who need special education programs by the third grade, which can translate into significant special education savings for the U.S. Typically, special education programs cost around double that of regular classroom education. (WaPo, 2/3)

– Closing Education Gap Will Lift Economy, a Study Finds (NYT, 2/2)

– Capital One, in partnership with the Center for NYC Affairs, has produced a FAFSA resource guide, intended to provide in-depth, tactical support to low-income students and the adults who help them in managing through the most common hurdles to the FAFSA. The resource guide can be accessed here.

FOOD | Are you a D.C. resident? Ready to roll up your sleeves and improve food security in the city? Applications are being accepted for the District’s first Food Policy Council and the city is seeking diverse representation to make it work. There’s been a flurry of legislation in D.C. in recent years on issues like improving healthy food options for the District’s youngest residents, urban agriculture, and more. A good summary can be accessed here.

Related: For more background on what’s happening in our regional food system, check out Washington Regional Food Funders’ recently released policy brief.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | As part of their 12-part thought leadership series sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners and authored by Dr. Lisa Sturtevant from the National Housing Conference, HAND offers their second installment of Matters@HAND – this time focusing on new housing construction in the region, and the direction it should go in 2015. (Helping Hands Blog, 2/2)

YOUTH/POVERTYOpinion: In response to the national debate regarding “free-range parenting,” Judith Sandalow of The Children’s Law Center offers her thoughts on how we view child neglect and how we can prevent children and families from getting to that point. She argues that the answer may lie in putting more support in place for the struggling families who are most likely to be swept up into the child welfare system by investing in programs such as Head Start, affordable housing, quality day care and more. (WaPo, 1/30)

MARYLAND | Maryland has established its first Latino legislative caucus made up of officials from Anne Arundel, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties who will advocate for issues affecting one of the state’s fastest growing populations. (WaPo, 2/2)

CSR | The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for their 2015 Outstanding Corporate Citizenship Awards. The awards honor individuals, businesses and non-profits for above-and-beyond business leadership, employee engagement, and corporate social responsibility. To find out more and to apply, click here.

– Nonprofit Finance Fund is conducting its seventh annual nationwide survey examining the current state of the nonprofit sector. The anonymous nonprofit survey gathers data on challenges and emerging trends in the nonprofit sector. The survey will close on Wednesday, February 18.

– Nonprofits and Government Agencies React to Obama’s Proposed Budget (Chronicle, 2/2)

Maryland’s state flag isn’t just a symbol…it’s also a fashion statement!

– Ciara

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