Neera Tanden Promotes “Radical Inclusion” at Montgomery College


Neera Tanden urged voters and politicians toward inclusion and diversity at Montgomery College Rockville campus last week. Tanden is President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization that serves as a think tank for progressive policies. Tanden came to discuss the organization’s liberal outlook on social and economic issues.

Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President of Montgomery College interviewed Tanden in the college’s Science Center West building on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The event, titled “The Politics of Radical Inclusion,” was a forum where civic leaders are invited to discuss topics relevant to Montgomery College, Montgomery County and issues relevant nationwide.

Education was a focal point of the forum for Pollard, Tanden and students alike. “As a country we invest not that much zero to five, a lot five to 18…, some 18 to 22, but then very little the rest of people’s lives,” Tanden said of support for education. She acknowledged a shift in job retention as workers no longer retain jobs for decades at a time. For many adults, community colleges are useful for skill development so workers can equip themselves for a chance at upward mobility within the job market, according to Tanden.

“In today’s economy people change jobs much more quickly, and they need to skill up for different jobs.” Tanden supports a federal investment to help subsidize low-income households and soften the blow of “sticker shock” that discourages people from the pursuit of higher education. “Essentially you don’t want to make tuition and the cost of college a barrier for people to enter.”

Tanden, who was raised by her mother in a single parent household and lived in subsidized housing as a child, empathizes with the cloud of college tuition lingering over the dreams and aspirations of underprivileged Americans each day.

Maryland Senator Cheryl Kagan (D) was also in attendance and expressed her displeasure with the state’s current governor, Larry Hogan (R) as she feels his leadership negatively affected Maryland’s countrywide ranking on education.

“Under Hogan’s administration we have slipped from first place to sixth place and are not going in the right direction,” Kagan said. “He [Hogan] is giving increasing amounts of public money, taxpayer money, to private schools,” Kagan said that private schools are not as accountable for the contributed tax dollars as public schools. She argued that this lack of accountability may lead to discriminatory practices and thwart the efforts of diversity and inclusion that Neera Tanden championed during the forum.

Amelia Chassé, Communications Director at the Office of the Governor was available for comment in response to Senator Kagan’s challenge of Governor Hogan’s record on education. “Ensuring that every

Maryland student has access to a world-class education regardless of where they grow up is the top priority of our administration,” Chassé said.

Chassé continued, “Regarding the ranking mentioned by Senator Kagan, an investigative report by the Baltimore Sun in 2013 showed that the O’Malley administration artificially inflated scores by discounting special needs students and ESL (English as a Second Language) students.”

For more information on Neera Tanden and the Center for American Progress visit