EDITORIAL:

Go Ahead, Maryland—Be a Schoolyard Bully and Take Over those City Schools

While it sounds extreme for the State of Maryland to "take over" certain under-performing public schools in Baltimore City, we say: sure, Maryland State Department of Education. Take ’em over. You deserve this challenge, because it's because of you that the schools are troubled. Who trains the teachers? Who certifies them to teach? Who's countenanced lower standards in the City all along, instead of coming forward with enough funding and expertise to rectify the problems? Who's rubber-stamped and looked the other way for decades? Why, it's the State. The City should not be blamed for this ineptitude.

Now that the City of Baltimore's school system has developed some gumption, and some programs that actually seem to be making inroads, along comes the State, saying the absurd No Child Left Behind Act dictates this takeover.

So, great. Take ’em over. We just wish we had some inkling, some tiny little clue, that could help us to understand just how the State plans to improve these schools. What can the State do that the City can't? What's going to be the price tag for taxpayers?

This essential information has not been made known to the public. Instead, news reports are focusing, as usual, on the he-said, she-said "controversy" between the government factions. We need to know WHO will be running the schools if a takeover occurs, HOW MUCH public money will be added to the pot, WHAT methods will be used to turn these schools around, and so on. The State's not talking. Is this some kind of secret plan, for crying out loud?

The very fact that the State has made this heavy-handed takeover bid without providing important specifics shows this has nothing to do with education, and everything to do with "we're better than you are" schoolyard-bullyism and political cronyism.


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This story was published on April 8, 2006.