Ike Legget Discusses Issues With Students

Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County

Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County

Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County
Photo Courtesy of Montgomery County

With the ability to hear input from its student body, Montgomery County is able to make necessary changes to fit its needs.

Several student journalists from Montgomery County high schools attended a meeting with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett on March 13 to discuss issues like modernization, healthy lunch options, discipline policies and math exam performance in schools.

According to Leggett, 85 percent of the funds for school construction and modernization comes from the county itself, while the remaining 15 percent is from federal funding. However, Leggett plans to ask the General Assembly to be a third source of construction funds, which currently amount to $1.1 billion.

“What we have in Montgomery County is a two-fold approach. On one hand we need greater capacity a�� but we also need to modernize our schools,” Leggett said.

According to Leggett, Montgomery County won a national award for being the most technologically advanced county. The launching of openMontgomery — a portal that allows the public to see county data — is a key reason for the county’s digital reputation.

Leggett also answered questions about improving the quality of school lunch options. “It’s a health crisis,” Leggett said. Some argue that improving student health is the most important concern, while others think that government is getting too involved in people’s eating habits.

Leggett believes that this issue is not an easy one; for all that the school can do, out-of-school pressures to eat poorly still exist, especially with the common temptation of fast food.

“Trying to say to your child, “you need to eat [healthy]a��, that’s one thing, but to get the kids to do it is another,” Leggett said.

On the topic of math exams and the high rate of exam failure, Leggett described the issue as “disappointing” and explained what education leaders have told him. “The things which we are teaching now are not corresponding with the examination,” Leggett said.

Another concern has been suspension rates and discipline policies that disproportionately affect certain student groups. Leggett said, “It sends a very chilling message when you have those kinds of disproportionate numbers.” He hopes that the school system will work to find a solid solution.