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April 12, 2013

An Unexpected Star Shines Bright

Harry M. Covert

Problems in public schools most of the time come from those who manage them, not the teachers most of whom are stymied by highly-paid administrators engrossed in political correctness.


If there is one bright star on the horizon for future high office, it is Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.


The county was in turmoil of corruption from the very top when he was elected. Confidently, Mr. Baker took command and grabbed the reins of government in what was previously seen as an ungovernable county.


In a move that should certainly make other Maryland county executives, and elected and appointed education officials, take serious notice, Mr. Baker added the school system to his already busy portfolio. He did it swiftly as Prince George’s school board was about to hire a new superintendent.


Now, Mr. Baker will decide that the title will be Chief Executive Officer of schools answering directly to him, the county executive, in all educational matters.


How he pulled this off is exciting and hopeful. The governor and General Assembly acceded promptly. It is another solid reason why school boards should not be elected, nor run as fiefdoms.


Frederick County soon will be moving to a county executive style of government. While that battle will be something, whoever becomes the lord of the manor – or lord high elk – should immediately move to run the school system and handle the budgets, forthwith and appoint the board.


Politicians in the state house use the most recent fads of the time to obfuscate real problems facing cities, towns and counties. Just for starters they rail against the business of disarming the citizenry because of the bad guys and gals, ban the death penalty, and follow the crowd on gay marriage. Are all these good for the ordinary taxpayers and non-taxpayers? They’re the actions of people whose only thoughts are getting elected and re-elected.


Management of community colleges should be another major citizen concern. State and community governments contribute to the operating budgets but have no say-so in who are fired and hired.


The governor appointed the members of the community college boards, for example the ones in Frederick County. The local college has run amok with the dismissal of its president in January after a six-month tenure. No evidence ever appeared of any wrong-doing by the man who was popular with the students and worked in the community.


Somehow, without explanation, the board removed the president. From then to now the trustees have remained silent as to the reason. Even those with “noses for the nasty” find this action hard to believe. The matter may well be simple but the taxpayers should be let in on the secret.


Supposedly neither the governor nor the county’s commissioner president can get involved.


Credit the Fourth Estate with trying to get to the bottom of this lurid effort. The judicial system probably will have the final say. That’s sad because it could have been cleared up at the beginning. It’s the public’s business.


It is surprising that the Maryland attorney general hasn’t sent his investigators to the Frederick Community College campus for a little chat.


Somewhat disconcerting, too, is that Frederick’s General Assembly delegation has been so quiet.


Those entrusted with the public good ought to act responsibly and stop hiding out, acting as if they are private domains.


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