Schools legacy suits him just fine

The Education Beat

Governor: As Parris N. Glendening's time in office winds down, he is honored by education officials for his service.

October 30, 2002|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF

AS GOV. Parris N. Glendening puts it, "I've got one more week of carefully walking lines."

That puts him past Tuesday's election. Then, until inauguration day in January, Glendening will be a genuine lame duck. But if the governor feels bad about being out of the media spotlight after 30 years of public life, he isn't demonstrating it.

A smiling, relaxed governor, flashing pictures of his new baby girl, appeared by invitation before the state Board of Education yesterday. He picked up a commendation for his eight years of service to Maryland children and assured the board that his preliminary budget for next year won't sacrifice education, even "non-mandated" programs, most of which are targeted to the poor.

Yesterday, of course, the governor was among friends. He appointed or reappointed all 12 state board members and has known some of them, such as Prince George's County's Jo Ann T. Bell, for more than three decades.

If there has been tension between Glendening and state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, there was no sign of it yesterday. Indeed, given the gathering budgetary woes, Grasmick may look back fondly on her eight years with Glendening, no matter who wins Tuesday.

This was the governor's second stop on an education farewell tour. Two weeks ago, a few hundred higher-education officials similarly sent Glendening into the political twilight with plaudits.

The governor clearly sees education as his legacy to Marylanders, and he hinted yesterday that his next paid job will be in education.

"I might be working with some of you," he told state board members when asked of his plans.

With a looming $1.7 billion state budget deficit, he said, the state and local education departments are in better shape than other state-funded agencies. This is partly because the first installment of the $1.3 billion Thornton school aid will begin next year. And it's partly because Maryland stands to collect $40 million from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

It's hardly a windfall, Grasmick and state board members warned. Most of the six-year Thornton commitment is destined for financially stressed schools under a strict formula, and enacting No Child Left Behind will be costly for state and local departments of education. In the end, they may take in less from the federal government than they pay to enact the complex law.

Thornton, end of MSPAP now seem worthy of praise

As the architect of the political deal that put the Thornton aid-to-education formula into law, Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman must be chuckling over how many politicians are now FOT -- Friends of Thornton. Both major candidates for governor support full funding of the Thornton formula, and at least a dozen candidates for the General Assembly are implying in their campaign pronouncements and ads that they led the pack in support of Thornton -- therefore, in support of Maryland's downtrodden children.

In fact, the Thornton legislation barely squeezed through after a series of compromises, and some of those who voted for it did so only reluctantly.

Gotta watch those claims. On The Marc Steiner Show this week on WYPR-FM, Del. Janet Greenip, running for Anne Arundel County's District 33 state Senate seat, implied that it was she who ended the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program. Greenip had introduced bills that would have abolished MSPAP, but none came close to passing.

MSPAP wasn't done in by Greenip, replied her opponent, incumbent Sen. Robert R. Neall. "It died of old age."

Actually, both are wrong. MSPAP was a healthy 10-year-old before it was killed by the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires reporting of individual student scores and yearly testing in reading and mathematics in grades three through eight. Neither old age nor Greenip did in MSPAP.

Northrop Grumman offers $240,000 in scholarships

Defense giant Northrop Grumman is to announce today $240,000 in college awards for Maryland high school seniors.

Scholarships in the new Engineering Scholars program are worth $10,000 each and will go to students with a math or science background. Public and private school students are eligible, and a winner will be selected from each of the state's 23 counties and Baltimore City.

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