Teachers who left a mark in state

The Education Beat

Nominees: Readers are invited to submit their choices for Maryland educator of the century

August 11, 1999|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

THE EDUCATION BEAT is officially open to reader nominations for Maryland educator of the century. Nominees may be living or dead, but those who have passed into the Classroom Beyond must have lived the majority of their lives in the 20th century. There are no other rules.

I'll make my own nominations from time to time and announce the consensus winner at the end of the year.

This week's Education Beat nominees are Philip H. "Doc" Edwards (1878-1966) and Wilmer A. Dehuff (1888-1976).

Doc Edwards headed City College from 1931 to 1948. The son of a Methodist minister, he began as a Latin instructor, having studied the classics at the Johns Hopkins University. He always said he knew "the best and the worst about the boys," and few doubted it.

Dehuff was principal of Polytechnic Institute from 1921 to 1958, so long that Baltimoreans found it impossible to imagine the school without "Mr. Poly." Dehuff helped two generations of young Baltimoreans learn the "four words of Poly" -- freedom, responsibility, goodness and mercy.

Ex-Social Services head in charge of Oakland schools

Today's quiz: Which of these former Baltimoreans popped up this summer as interim schools superintendent in Oakland, Calif.? a) Walter G. Amprey; b) Robert Fitzpatrick; c) George Musgrove; d) Richard C. Hunter.

Amprey and Hunter are former Baltimore superintendents. Fitzpatrick, a former 2nd District City Councilman, left Baltimore to head a California arts college.

The correct answer is Musgrove, the only one of the four who's never worked as an educator. Musgrove, 54, headed Baltimore's Department of Social Services for eight troubled years in the 1980s. When newly elected Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke tried to dislodge him in 1988, Musgrove refused to budge. So, in a bizarre move, Schmoke arranged to have Musgrove transferred to an obscure job as special assistant to the state secretary of transportation.

Musgrove migrated to Virginia, where he entered the field of city management. He moved to Oakland last year on the coattails of his old boss in Richmond, now Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb.

Replacing the ousted Superintendent Carole Quan in a district that's an administrative, financial and educational mess, Musgrove was appointed with a mandate to clean house. Mayor Jerry Brown has threatened to take over the schools. The majority of students read below grade level, and the city hasn't seen a new school in 30 years.

"My to-do list? Where do you want to start?" Musgrove told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Board considers policy limiting speakers' topics

If the city school board has its way, you won't be able to tell its members much at public meetings. At its next official gathering Aug. 24, the board will consider a policy stipulating what speakers can discuss: anything but "personnel items, collective bargaining issues, contract disputes, items in litigation or items appealed to the state [school] board."

All of this in a 30-minute public discussion period, with each speaker limited to three minutes. Be it further resolved: "Members of the new board are not expected to provide the public with comment or explanations at the public board meeting."

It was the proposed proscribing of legal discussion that angered Lynne Ward, longtime student advocate and thorn in the side of the special education bureaucracy. The federal lawsuit filed in behalf of the city's disabled students has been in the courts for 15 years, Ward noted in a letter to candidates in the fall elections. "Now the school board has the audacity to come up with a policy stating that parents of students with disabilities cannot come before the board."

CollegeBound scholars to be honored at luncheon

More than 200 CollegeBound scholars will be honored at the program's 11th annual luncheon tomorrow at the Belvedere. CollegeBound helps city public high school students pursue a college education with financial aid and assistance in the application process.

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