Thursday, April 24, 2008

They Couldn't Have Cared Less

Interesting report from WBAL

It has been two years since the General Assembly overrode a decision by the State School Board to privatize four high schools in Baltimore and have the city hire a third party to run seven low performing middle schools.

State School Board member David Tufaro tells WBAL Radio the information he has reviewed show those eleven "remain in general very low performing schools." He says he doesn't consider himself an expert on the information but he has looked over a number of factors. Some of the eleven will be closed this year, or in the coming years after the Baltimore City School Commissioners voted for that action recently.

Tufaro says "the question needs to be asked did then Mayor O'Malley and did our elected representatives and the General Assembly as a whole act wisely, prudently on behalf of the students of Baltimore City. And I would submit based on the information I know, no they clearly did not."

He believes the lawmakers were acting in political interests and protecting aspects of a failed school system.

Now this is just preliminary, but Mike Miller, Martin O'Malley, and Mike Busch would never play politics with poor students (or working families) as pawns, only to drop them like a bad habit after they retake the governor's mansion. Right???


Anonymous said...

You mean like Mike Steele's well reported (because they insisted on it) promise of more cash for Douglas High school...and none came.s

He said he wouldn't forget.

He forgot.

Of course, it was the Senators and Delegates of Baltimore city who insisted the politcally motivarted take-over in an election year be halted. They saw the decline of the state run Edison schools, which stood behind some of their non-state run counterparts. and they saw the fraud and corruption of such privately run schools in other states like Texas with falsified test scores.

Tufaro? Isn't that the Republican who ran for Mayor once?

No political motivation for him to be excusing the failure of the city-state education partnership, I am sure.

Mark Newgent said...

Yes and the cities Senator's and Delegates have done so much since then to improve those schools...

Also, just because some privately run schools have fraud issues doesn't mean that ALL such schools are run that way. Obviously BCPSS schools are run effictively, efficiently, and safely. By the way where is that missing $58 million?

What's the matter--afraid to lose the government near-monopoly on education?

David Tufaro ran for mayor... in other breaking news gravity makes things go down.

I could care less about what Tufaro is or isn't excusing., That is beside the point here. O'Malley screwed those kids out of a chance at a better education because he did not want to look bad. That's the point and you can't get around it. So snipe at the edges all you want it doesn't invalidate my original point.

Furthermore, even with its problems, privately run education can provide better educational options and choices to parents. The state can provide those choices to low income families through tax credits or vouchers and then by getting the hell out of the way. But the teacher's unions who support O'Malley and the Democrats don't want the children to have a choice.

All children have the right to a good education, but who says goverment has to provide it.

We can agree that government should have standards about food safety and, but would you go to dinner at a government restaurant? I doubt it. The same applies for education. Establish reasonable standards and curriculum then get out of the way and let parents decide how best to educate their children.

Anonymous said...

Fraud did not permiate just any privately run schools, it was the same company in Texas that Maryland was going to inject again in Baltimore. The same company whose local schools had started sliding in test scores already.

So your condemnation of government run schools is really only focused on local governments, not a state government managed at the time by a guy who has no record on education whatsoever?

And you're saying there is no question the state would have succeeded with those schools (whose plan was simply to study the schools for 18 months before making changes).

Beyond a partisan affection for spin that means nothing, what evidence do you have that the state was capable of turning those schools around? How can you gaurentee it so easily in your slick spin?

I mean beyond just writing it like it's true.

Why no mention Tufaro's party or his record. Of course, when you're laying down nothing but a person's opinions on a government policy issue, it does matter a bit.

Who appointed Tufaro to the BOE, do you know?

Vouchers? It was a thrill to see such plans and propsals from Ehrlich and his education czar Mike Steele.

Only he didn't and neither did Ehrlich.

You can't even sell it to the right-wing in this state. There must be something wrong with it. They rejected it without any hesitation.

Just because you don't "like it" or can't defend it doesn't make it beside the issue of the city state partnership - of which Tufaro was a part - "besides the point."

You're advocating a centralized state take-over of some schools. You declared that it would have absolutley provided the education those students needed. Now, not only is the actual track record of state administration of local schools "beside the point," you're shilling for government run schools. Only you think now that the government furthest away from the schools themselves is better.

That's a little odd.

Was there any reason why the "miracle cure" for those kids had to wait until an election year?

Talk about your political stunts.

Mark Newgent said...

Talk about spin, You are putting words in my mouth.
You said "what evidence do you have that the state was capable of turning those schools around? How can you gaurentee it so easily in your slick spin?"

I only said "O'Malley screwed those kids out of a CHANCE at a better education because he did not want to look bad." Giving those kids an opportunity to have an alternative to the crap education the city was providing was my point.

Also, please show me where I "declared that it would have absolutley provided the education those students needed." As I showed above and wrote in my first reply, I never absolutely decalared anything. That's you putting words in my mouth.

Furthermore, I can support the state's takeover and turning over of the shcools to a private company and still hold my position on vouchers and tax credits.

My initial point, one that you have not refuted, is that Ehrlich and Grasmick's plan would have provided at least an opportunity for those kids to get a better education than O'Malley and BCPSS was providing.

Maybe CitiStat can find the missing $58 million.

justdafacts said...

Who are you kidding, Mark? Gov. Ehrlich is the one who "couldn't have cared less," and David Tufaro is no less a rabid political partisan than you or I.

Never one to know when to quit, he thought he'd use the second anniversary of a sordid political ploy to unearth the hatchet Gov. O'Malley and Supt. Grasmick buried.

Neither masterful politician will take the bait, but a crackpot like me has no such qualms:

Gov. Ehrlich was indifferent to the plight of Baltimore school children until his character asassin of a campaign consultant Bo Harmon told him his only glimmer of hope against then-Mayor O'Malley's challenge was to trash Baltimore City--particularly its crime and its schools [that and some tired old election day dirty tricks, but I digress...].

On March 29, 2006, without any public discussion, Supt. Grasmick announced her decision to take over the 11 schools, effective EIGHTEEN MONTHS LATER. The date of the state takeover would have been September 28, 2007.

She could have made the same surprise announcement on Wednesday, November 8, 2006, the day after Gov. O’Malley defeated Gov. Ehrlich. Even better, if she believed her reasoning was so compelling and in the best interest of the children, she could have waited another week or two, to make her case to the governor-elect, whether Ehrlich or O’Malley.

There is no evidence that the timing of her announcement had any relation to the process of the takeover she envisioned or served the interest of the kids in any way. There was no reason for her not to make her announcement after the election. THE TAKEOVER SHE ENVISIONED COULD HAVE BEGUN ON THE SAME DAY SHE ORIGINALLY PLANNED.
So it was about the politics, not the children.

The timing of her announcement served only the interest of Gov. Ehrlich’s re-election campaign, as he featured it in his ads and ranted about it in both televised debates.

If the state takeover ploy were anything other than a surprise attack for the benefit of Gov. Ehrlich's re-election campaign, legislators would have been briefed ahead of time, and the mayor himself would have been paid a courtesy call:

"I know what you're going think, Mister Mayor, but let me assure you this has nothing to do politics and everything to do with the kids..."

Perhaps savvy Mayor O'Malley might have intejected at that point, suggested waiting until after the election, which still would have left a full 12 months before the intended takeover date, should the newly elected or re-elected powers that be wish to proceed.

- Steve Lebowitz

P. Kenneth Burns said...

Oh Mark, come now....

I didn't even hear about you until last year and I would hope that you and I had the same wavelength, that when Team Baltimore City shoved emergency legislation to force a moratorium in the wanning hours of the 2006 assembly session, despite the fact that Grasmick was well within her right to take over the schools, knowing full well that they were banking on O'Malley to win the mansion and they would "conveniently" forget about it a year later.

This should not shock anyone with common sense. They never cared and it looks like they are not going to soon. This is why I am in favor of making Baltimore City elections NON-PARTISAN. This way, the machine would be judged on it's record, and NOT it's party.

Anonymous said...

A chance?

mark, the only chance you were hoping for is within your own words

"My initial point, one that you have not refuted, is that Ehrlich and Grasmick's plan would have provided at least an opportunity for those kids to get a better education than O'Malley and BCPSS was providing."

What's his name doing in there?

Ehrlich had no plan. He was not a part of Grasmick's, was he? I mean, beyond the POLITICAL OPPORTUNITY. Or, are you admitting he was behind it and the timing?

p. kenneth,

So what you're saying is that Republicans have nothing to offer the voters and so its best to hide their party affiliation?

Maybe offering something substantative would also work.

But keep fighting that fight.