Kay Williams, director of the Division of Accelerated and Enriched Instruction of the Montgomery County Public Schools, wrote a letter to the editor of Education Week regarding Richard Whitmire and my recent commentary "What Ever Happened to Grade Skipping?" We had noted that Montgomery County was debating whether to label 2nd graders as gifted or not gifted.
In her note, Ms. Williams highlights the various options that Montgomery County uses, such as allowing 8th graders to take algebra, and offering AP classes. She states that "acceleration is already an integral part of the program options in Montgomery County public schools" -- at least with math (the examples she notes, and which is the one subject schools tend to allow some acceleration in).
But what was most interesting to me is her statement that "The district’s systemwide model for acceleration ensures that students can access an appropriate, above-grade-level curriculum every day without skipping a grade." This was our main point -- why is it considered so horrible to skip a whole grade? Or two or three? Often highly gifted young people are ahead of their peers in many subjects, and need more mature classmates in order to fit in, socially, as well. If Montgomery County has a systemwide model in order to ensure that no one need (horrors!) skip a grade, this seems to show that the prejudice is alive and well.