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Council And Superintendent Clash Over School Boundaries In Montgomery County

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In Maryland, Montgomery County council members clashed with the schools superintendent over ways to slow the trend of segregation in county public schools.

A council staff report shows schools are becoming increasingly segregated in the county, adding to a growing achievement gap between white and Asian students and their black and Latino counterparts. To reverse that, several council members urged that school boundaries be redrawn to better reflect the changing demographics of the county, and ensure there are more minority students in all schools.

Councilwoman Cherrie Branson notes districts for council members, the General Assembly, and Congressional representatives are redrawn every 10 years. "The notion that boundaries are these sacrosanct things that we don't touch, they're sacred. Hey, that doesn't apply anywhere else," Branson says.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr has looked at changing boundaries, but has resisted thus far, saying it wouldn't be a cure-all. "If you're redrawing to include certain people, you're also excluding certain people," he says.

Changing school boundaries would also be very controversial, but Council President Craig Rice says it's a fight the council has to be ready for. "If you want to be successful at trying to achieve this, it's not going to happen voluntarily," Rice says.

For now, school boundaries are going to stay the same.

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