Montgomery County Brings Driver’s Ed to All Students

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Learning to drive is a milestone for many teenagers, but the expenses can be difficult, especially for low-income families. Greg’s Driving School can range from $350 to $400, and I Drive Smart from $335 to $635. The current Student Member of the Board (SMOB), senior Nate Tinbite, wants to change that. On November 12, 2019, Tinbite presented a proposal to integrate driver’s ed with MCPS, thus making it a more accessible class for MCPS students. The proposal was subsequently passed at the next Board of Education meeting on December 3, 2019. 

The main case for bringing back driver’s education is to help impoverished students in the county. As Tinbite states in his proposal, “earning a driver’s license would lead to increased opportunities for students such as part-time employment and increased access to goods, services, and experiences.” 

This is especially important because Montgomery County, as Board of Education Member Judy Docca writes, “lacks a complete public transit system also.”

So far, however, this program has not been fleshed out. The proposal being passed means that the idea goes to the desk of the Superintendent, Dr. Jack R. Smith, who will then make recommendations back to the board. Board members are also supposed to bring their own recommendations to the next meeting. More information can be expected in the next few months. The soonest students can expect to see school-provided driver’s ed could be anywhere from a year to two years from now. 

Depending on how it works out, this could be an after-school program, similar to how many driving schools currently have classes offered at high schools like Quince Orchard. Or, it could be offered as a course, which MCPS did offer in the 90s, in conjunction with the health curriculum. Unfortunately, the same driver’s education program was dropped when the county stopped paying for them. Additionally, continuing the focus on equity, students should expect the classes to be free or at least at a reduced cost, to combat the higher prices offered by current private driver’s ed companies. Presumably, if it were offered as a school course, the classes would be free, and if offered as an afterschool program, they would be at a reduced cost. Again, no details are concrete as of yet. 

If students have concerns or questions about either this driver’s ed proposal or other MCPS related issues, they can find Nate Tinbite’s contact information at natetinbite.com.