Students and parents told the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday that new technology is critical in classrooms.
“MCPS has rolled out its new Curriculum 2.0,” said Jeri Crist, a countywide PTA coordinator. “It’s a great program, but for it to fully benefit our children technology is a must.”
The council will decide next week whether to approve a request from Montgomery County Public Schools for $2 million in E-rate Program funds, from the Federal Communications Commission, to pay for technology in classrooms.
The discussion will take place Nov. 13 in the council hearing room in the council building at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.
Superintendent Joshua P. Starr and the Montgomery County Board of Education would spend $14.5 million over five years for 2,000 Promethean boards for all elementary classrooms and $5.6 million for wireless networking in all schools. Promethean boards are high-tech whiteboards that are connected to computers and give students new ways to interact with their lessons.
Most of the money would be delegated through the E-rate Program funds, and the rest would come from the school system’s technology budget.
Some council members still have questions about the request, although the council’s education committee decided Monday to give it the go-ahead.
The council needs to make sure that this request was competitively bid, that the company providing the technology, Promethean World, is financially sound, and that the county should be investing this much money for this technology, said Councilman George Leventhal. Council members Nancy Floreen and Marc Elrich agreed.
These questions were raised from community members and by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who said he supported the request as long as questions were addressed.
Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, chair of the education committee, said Tuesday that the distribution of technology would be what closes the achievement gap in the county.