Public education is a mess. Use any indicator you choose: the drop-out rate, students' inability to master basic skills or -- most important -- the large number of teachers who jump ship to other professions or those who never consider education at all.
A new report from the state Board of Education has found the latter to be a particularly pressing problem. Even with a scholarship program that gives students tuition aid in exchange for going into a field where there is a teacher shortage and then teaching in Maryland, the state will come up 300 teachers short in the 1991-92 school year. Predictably, there will be an "extraordinary shortage" of teachers in Baltimore city and the poorer counties -- Caroline, Garrett, Somerset and St. Mary's.
Why the disparity? For one thing, salary. For another, per pupil spending. Both are lower in jurisdictions that don't rake in a harvest of tax revenues. There are other problems, too, not the least being the bureaucratic hurdles that stand between bright, motivated liberal arts graduates and the classroom.