Perhaps no subject gets people more riled up than making schools accountable to the students and families they serve.
Education is the proverbial hot button issue because, to paraphrase one of those old tomes, people demand quality and either a) think it’s someone else’s responsibility to deliver it or b) someone else’s responsibility to pay for it or c) both of the preceding.
So, when the latest attempt from the state government via the feds to start grading the schools that teach and grade our kids came down the pike in the past year, the politicos had to stick in their two cents worth. What Maryland ended up with is the Protect Our Schools Act of 2017, passed by the Democrat controlled legislature out of fear of what the new Republican President and his pro-private school Secretary of Education might do to undermine our public schools. The state bill was vetoed by our Republican governor out of fear it went too far and would result in Washington cutting the money it sends to Maryland schools. The legislature overrode the veto, making the Protect Our Schools Act law, but as recently as last week, the governor said he still won’t go along with it.
If this was a bunch of kids out on the playground at recess, we’d probably smile and think, how cute. But these are adults in leadership roles and, as is often the case, they know so much better than the rest of us mortal souls about how to deliver a quality for education for all.
So, it’s fairly easy to see why the people on the firing line who run our schools and teach our kids get frustrated with trying to satisfy too many masters, most of whom haven’t walked the walk or talked the talk, but still get to make the rules.
As we reported in Wednesday’s edition of The Aegis, the people who run Harford County Public Schools have been duly busy making sure their schools are prepared to meet the mandates of the Protect Our Schools Act. In a country that was at the vanguard of “free” public education, you would think the United States for the past 30 years or so has been a slave to a succession of Stalinist Five Year Plans when it comes to its public education system.
One day the feds and the states and all of us will wake up and find that our push for school accountability has served no real purpose other than to mess up something that was once the envy of the rest of the world.
Let’s get back to teaching first, second and last. Enough of the rest.