Sunday, February 23, 2020
Consider the Giver
About that Inspector General for Education. I told you we’d get back to that. My first piece on this might be summed up as follows: it all depends on who is giving the gift. After more research and contemplation, I’d have to say my assessment stands.
Mr. Hogan has shown himself on multiple occasions to have a distrust and dislike of teachers and education priorities. He’s never going to live down that “Union thugs” remark. It seems to be a hallmark of a certain political party. Remember John Kasich and his anxiety about what happens in the teachers lounge? Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was determined to strip state teachers of their bargaining rights. And then there’s the president’s own son calling teachers “losers”.
Here in Maryland our Governor doesn’t even think that individual jurisdictions have the competence to set their own school calendars. In short, he doesn’t look at Education in a way that invests and empowers. He thinks it needs managing. Investigating. Inspecting. He’s on the lookout to find wrongdoing.
Ironically, the reason that Mr. Hogan was able to appoint an Inspector General was that it “was allowed by a provision in last year’s Kirwan Commission-inspired bill.” (Danielle E. Gaines, Maryland Matters) Yet he is so opposed to fulfilling the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission itself that he went to work raising dark money to fight it.
The Governor would like us to believe that this is what’s wrong with education in Maryland:
For five years, our administration has been working hard to root out corruption, wrongdoing, and the mismanagement of state tax dollars by local school systems.
To be sure, if any of that is going on we need to address it and correct it. But in my opinion the focus on possible malfeasance is a way that Mr. Hogan is taking a magnifying glass to search for the speck in his neighbor’s eye in order to avoid addressing the enormous plank in his own. What’s wrong with education in the State of Maryland is that it doesn’t address the needs of big chunks of the state population. What needs to be changed has to do with looking at the big picture, investing in all children in every Maryland jurisdiction.
We can’t inspect or deflect our way out of this.
Interestingly enough, the Kirwan report already contains accountability requirements as an integral part of the plan.