January 06, 2001

More time with Ecker

CHARLES I. ECKER will be Carroll County schools superintendent for another year, thanks to a prudent move by the school board.

Mr. Ecker has done much with his forthright manner to restore public trust and employee confidence in the beleaguered administration.

He's no miracle worker -- hard work in the classrooms is needed to improve learning, as reflected in stagnating test scores. But the longtime schools administrator and former Howard County executive has shown a quick understanding of the Carroll system and its immediate needs.

Another year with him in the job gives the board ample time to carefully select a permanent leader.

An `Old Line' Court?

IT HAS BEEN 137 years since a native Marylander sat on the Supreme Court. Isn't it time to break that streak?

There's no constitutional requirement that speaks to birth or residence with regard to Supreme Court nominations.

But just as it wouldn't be right if all nine justices came from the same city or state, it's also wrong for one state to have such a long dry spell. The 84 justices appointed in the 137 years since the last Marylander have emerged from 30 states and the District of Columbia.

All along, Maryland has been home to its share of distinguished scholars of the law. And as for judicial temperament, Maryland can surely offer more than the two current justices whose home addresses are in Virginia: Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Go-ahead for Gateway

HAVEN'T WE SEEN enough ambivalence and indecision by the Carroll County Board of Education? Hasn't the county learned how vacillation on construction decisions hurts the chances of getting necessary state funds?

The school system made building a new Gateway School (for older kids with behavioral and emotional problems) its top funding request to the state. The construction chief was told to build it next to Robert Moton Elementary, south of Westminster.

But the school superintendent and school board are still looking at the option of an old elementary school to house the 150 students.

Bad idea. No wonder the state won't allocate money to build Gateway. The school board must clearly declare its intention at next week's meeting to help its chances for funding.

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