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Democrats Continue to use Kids as Pawns

The Democrats campaign to take influence of Governor Larry Hogan on public schools and instead hand it to Democratic-leaning interest groups continued on Friday:

Anne Arundel delegates voted along party lines Friday to shuffle the commission that nominates county school board members, removing the governor’s representatives in favor of adding more parents and minorities…..

….The bill, approved 8-7, would increase the commission from 11 members to 13. It also would:

•Strip the governor of all five appointees to the commission and add one representative each from the county NAACP chapter, CASA de Maryland and the Anne Arundel Special Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

•Keep a representative from the Annapolis chamber, and share an additional seat between the other chambers. It would rotate every two years.

•Expand the county executive’s representatives from one to three. One would have to be a parent and only one could be a county employee.

•Restore the requirement that recommendations be confirmed by a supermajority of eight out of 13 members. The new commission changed the rule, giving more power to the political appointees.

•Require the commission to conduct background checks on candidates before forwarding their names to the governor.

I wrote about the Democrats attempts to seize control over education last month. But County Executive Steve Schuh was absolutely correct in calling the Democrats power grab “gutter politics at its worst.”

Just as a reminder, it was liberals who created the current nominating system in the first place. Democrats working in conjunction with disgraced former County Executive John Leopold created the current system that allowed the Governor to appoint five out of the eleven members on the nominating commission. They always seems to be content with that system, never mind the fact that the system was a disaster from jump street, featuring screwball antics, and Martin O’Malley’s appointment of a Democratic lobbyist to the Board of Ed.

That’s not to say, of course, I support the status quo. In 2013 I wrote this about the entire process:

Five years into the Anne Arundel County School Board Nomination Commission process, the process is a complete and catastrophic failure for taxpayers and parents, providing successes only for Democratic politicians and education insiders who want to continue their stranglehold on the reins of power without any input from outsiders. We are long past the time where it is necessary and proper to repeal this ridiculous process, and provide for fair and open elections for the Board of Education. Anne Arundel County parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers deserve nothing less. 

Even when the system went into place in 2008, I forewarned of future disaster:

The School Board selection process reforms passed by the General Assembly in 2007 continue to haunt the future of our Anne Arundel County schools. Clearly it is becoming apparent that this process continues to be an embarrassment to our schools and our county, and needs to be scrapped for something better. And while we all prefer direct elections of School Board members, we all should be able to agree that almost anything is better than we are going to get from this O’Malley/Leopold Commission….

The system is, in fact, an unmitigated disaster. However, the Democrats aren’t actually interested in fixing the system. No, they are much more inclined to keep the system and tweak it for naked partisan advantage. The Democrats were fully content with the system as it was….so long as a Democrat was in the Governor’s mansion. Now that Governor Hogan is in office and we have a Governor who is more committed to fixing K-12 education than any Governor before him, now the Democrats are concerned about the partisan makeup of the board. Now they want to rip control of the process away from the Governor, in a process they themselves created, to create a new process that retains control of Anne Arundel County schools for Democrats and their special interest group allies.

The whole thing needs to be scrapped and replaced with a system of direct election of School Board members. Even failing that, a reform to the Nominating Commission system that allowed candidates to challenge nominees in competitive elections, much like we have for Circuit Court Judges, would be a drastic improvement over the system that we have in place now.

The Democrats are more concerned with using our kids as political pawns than they are with meaningful K-12 education reform. That says a lot about the crass nature of modern Maryland Democrats, and it’s something that parents should remember going forward, regardless of the final outcome of this proposal.

 






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