Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maryland County Executive Takes School Takeover Bid To Public

The Washington Post (3/28, Wiggins) reports, "Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) told more than 16,000 people participating in a telephone town hall to discuss his schools takeover plan on Tuesday night that someone needs to be held accountable for the county's struggling schools system and asked residents to 'put me in the hot seat.'" The Post notes that Baker is pushing for state legislation to "put him in charge of the school superintendent and the schools system's $1.7 billion budget. The move would significantly reduce the role of the Board of Education, limiting its responsibility to academic policy and parental engagement."

Papers Take Opposite Sides On Plan.An editorial in the Washington Post (3/28) backs Baker's plan, listing a number of problems in the district. "It's a good idea, and there appears to be a fair amount of support for structural reforms among state lawmakers. They should pass a bill now, before the system hires a new superintendent." The Post criticizes the Maryland legislature for watering down the plan, but adds that "even the Senate's version is better than the status quo."
However, an editorial in the Baltimore Sun (3/27) acknowledges the "dysfunctional" school board and poor academic support, but argues that Baker's plan for "direct control over the district's day-to-day operations and authority over its next superintendent would be unprecedented in Maryland. The carefully constructed wall between public K-12 education and electoral politics would be torn down with potentially troubling, precedent-setting consequences for the state's other school systems."

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