- Pr. George's Schools Face Transition In Leadership; Chief Pick Forthcoming, Board Elections in Fall
- Post, 8 Jan 2006 (by Nick Anderson, Washington Post Staff Writer)
The Prince George's County school system is nearing a leadership crossroads after seven months with a stopgap chief executive who earns hourly pay and nearly four years with an unelected school board.
Within weeks, the school board hopes to choose a new chief to lead 199 public schools with about 133,000 students. The application period for a nationwide search closed Thursday. The board itself is scheduled to be replaced in fall elections that will usher in a new political era for a system plagued in recent years by instability and an up-and-down academic reputation.
[. . .]
Central to the intrigue is Board of Education Chairman Beatrice P. Tignor.
[. . .]
Tignor also has said she will not be a candidate in the fall school board elections. She said, however, that she wants the state legislature to postpone elections and extend the term of a nine-member board that was appointed in 2002 by a governor and county executive who are no longer in office.
"Give the current board two more years," said Tignor, a veteran Upper Marlboro politician who has been a prominent voice -- often the dominant voice -- in the school system. "Having a couple more years would probably put everything in perspective. I would like to keep going as an appointed board."
- Leadership of Prince George's Schools at Crossroads
The full Post story does refer--briefly--to the last two school chiefs employed by the appointed board, both of whom left under an ethical cloud amid questions about their competence. Unfortunately, the story says little about the record of the appointed board.
- No noticeable improvements in educational results.
- Prince George's County schools remain near the bottom of every list--second worst in Maryland and second worst in the Washington, DC, area.
- CEO Hornsby clearly violated the school board's own ethics rules, but Tignor's appointed school board apparently did nothing to enforce the board's rules. Then when Hornsby resigned because of an FBI investigation, the appointed board rewarded him with a $125,000 going away present.
- The appointed board insisted on building a $6 million luxury gym, for which there were no authorized funds.
- While spending money they didn't have on the luxury gym, the appointed board ignored serious school maintenance problems, including roofing needs at 62 schools.
- Audits of school finances have been late repeastedly, costing the school system a signifcant los or delay of state aid.
- Just recently, the board has moved to approve a new, relatively unneeded, second Bowie high school, ignoring both the majority of citizen input and far greater needs in the rest of the county.
- And I could go on and on about textbooks, school buses, lack of a permanent math teach at Stephen Decatur, etc.
- Why does the press generally tend to gloss over the failures of our appointed board and rarely, or only superficially, report on educational results, or the lack thereof?
- Why are the anti-democratic legislators who gave us this unaccountable, under-performing school board so unwilling to take responsiblity for continuing failures they have wrought, and why should we trust any additional, politically-motivated "reforms" they want to impose?
- Why would anyone who truly wants to see our children educated even dream of leaving the current school board and top school bureaucrats in charge?