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O'Malley's crusade against Grasmick, Inc.

O'Governor's timing isn't exactly impeccable, is it? He decided to publicly slam Nancy Grasmick again and call for her ouster just as Education Week was ranking Maryland's schools No. 3 nationwide. A longtime state schools superintendent gets to take credit for that - not a first-term governor with only a limited track record of interest in public education.

But, look, children, it's not just bitter, personal partisan politics that motivates O'Governor to go after Nancy Grasmick, one of the most successful public school superintendents in the United States, but a crusade against "unfettered corporatism." Here's Sue Allison, Director of something called Marylanders Against High Stakes Testing, to explain:

"Dr. Grasmick is not only isolated from politics - she has completely isolated herself from the views and concerns of parents.   The legislature recently compelled her to do regional public hearings on the High School Assessment program, which she did.  But when one of the new O'Malley BOE appointees made the suggestion that they should not vote on the confirming the HSA requirement until all parent concerns raised at those hearings were addressed -this BOE member was quickly shut down by the old Ehrlich appointees.  So basically - parents WASTED their time when they traveled far distances to tell the BOE what was actually happening with their silver bullet HSA program.
 
"BOE members don't even share their email addresses with the public.   This set-up makes parents feel completely helpless in this policy making process.   We can't vote for anyone who has anything to do with education policy.   On the other hand - the Maryland Business Roundtable has complete and unfettered access to Dr. Grasmick and the Board.  In fact - the BOE often meets at the offices of the Maryland Business Roundtable.  It is the MBRT's views on high stakes testing that always carry the day - despite overwhelming opposition by other education advocacy organizations. 
 
"One person's 'partisan political influence' is another person's good old fashioned democracy.  I will take partisan politics over unfettered corporatism any day.  Dr. Grasmick is pushing forward to shred diplomas next spring, despite the fact that the BOE hasn't gotten its act together yet on modified assessments for special needs students - because this is what the BRT education agenda is demanding.  But I guess we're not supposed to worry about a few casualties here and there - right?   Just so its somebody else's kid who is cheated out of a diploma he or she earned fair and square.  And if a few kids lose diplomas because an unregulated private testing company screwed up -- whats the big deal - right?  Its's more important to protect Dr. Grasmick from 'partisan politics.' 
 
"If you want to keep the structure the way it is - you tell me how a parent is supposed to advocate for fair and open testing in the state of Maryland. "

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