Friday, February 9, 2018

The Great Showman

I waded in, uninvited, to an online discussion of Comptroller Peter Franchot’s Reform on Tap Task Force last night. I confess, I stuck my oar in because I was disgruntled about the recent announcement that inclement weather days have necessitated doing away with Spring Break this year.

If this leaves you wondering what on earth I was thinking, here’s a reminder. Mr. Franchot has made his name and Office synonymous with the following:

Reform on Tap Task Force
Let Summer Be Summer
William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award
( let’s not forget the BPW “Beg-a-thon”)

He (and his trusty team) have worked hard to put his name and these topics in front of the people of Maryland, over and over again. It’s good to have causes. It’s good to believe in things. It looks like Comptroller Franchot is a man of energy and ideas.

But my problem here is that I never liked the “Let Summer Be Summer” campaign. I felt like the needs of Ocean City tourism ran right over the notion of local school board control of calendars. No matter how often genuine concerns were raised, Mr. Franchot plowed ahead, telling everyone that “Let Summer Be Summer” was what everyone wanted. I got absolutely no sense he listened to the other side of this issue. Zero.

So you take the premise that School must start after Labor Day and end by June 15th. Add to that multiple inclement weather days. What do you get? No Spring Break. And now there’s a bunch of parents right here in Howard County who just lost vacation time with their families and they don’t feel like Mr. Franchot and the Governor really thought this one through.

Which brings me back to Reform on Tap. A completely different initiative, you may say. While that may be true, Mr. Franchot has made the choice to seize on particular initiatives and link his office with selling them in an almost P.T Barnum-like fashion. If I look at him and think “School Calendar”, he has no one to blame but himself.

You should certainly learn more about the Reform on Tap Task Force and make up your own mind. I’m not innately opposed to it. I simply have such a bitter taste in my mouth after being steamrolled on the school calendar that I’m not inclined to jump on the bandwagon.

And, so help me, if some man jumps in to the comments on this and tells me “you just can’t” about any of this- - well, I’m warning you. It won’t be pretty.


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