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“Why Do We Have to Talk About Race So Much?” Montgomery County, Maryland’s Educators and Parents Circle in on Culture, Bias and Learning in Diverse and Changing Schools

by Meredith Carlson Daly
Montgomery County, Maryland

“It was a little bit tense,” said one study circle participant. “Then again, nothing is going to happen unless there is a little bit of tension.”

Suburban Montgomery County, bordering Washington, D.C. hosts Maryland’s largest public school system. While the county is generally affluent, it is increasingly racially, culturally, linguistically and economically mixed. The public schools enroll more than 150,000 students in 200 schools across nearly 500 square miles. Students come from more than 157 countries and speak more than 138 languages. Over the past decade, students of color have become the majority here and the share of students from families that earn low incomes has grown. 

With photographs by Tchad Moore

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Documents, Links and Related News

Montgomery County Public Schools Study Circles Program
Using Study Circles to Engage Racially Diverse Parents, Staff and Students in Dialogue and Problem Solving NCPIE Update (Dec. 2008)
Performance of Montgomery County Public School’s High Schools Office of Legislative Oversight
Confronting Suburban Poverty in America by Alan Berube and Elizabeth Kneebone