What's your feeling on Smith's exit?

Your Opinions

Thoughts on issues relating to Anne Arundel County

September 18, 2005

Last week, The Sun asked readers for their views on schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith's decision to leave his job Nov. 23 to take a position with Harvard University. Here are some of the responses.

Parent impressed with superintendent

I have a daughter who attends Piney Orchard Elementary School in Odenton. I left an ill-managed school system in Prince George's County, and I was attracted to the efficient management, diversity and improved test scores in Anne Arundel County.

This is my first year in this school system, and my daughter and I were excited about experiencing a different approach to learning. Much to my dismay, as the new school year started, we were shocked by the announcement of Smith's departure. I have seen this leader on the Anne Arundel County Public Schools TV and was impressed by his style of management and level of interacting with the children.

I now find it puzzling that we teach our kids to solve problems, try to work well together and do what's best for all. I find it quite amazing that this wealthy, educated county (and the school board) cannot reach an amicable solution to this problem and do what's best for the children. I am sure that the children will be watching and wanting for another great hope. He will truly be missed ... save the children, help the future!

Theresa Williamson

Odenton

Smith is politician, not loyal to district

The next time the Anne Arundel County Board of Education hires a superintendent, the members need to hire an educator, not a politician. Smith was never committed to the job. This was his fourth job as a superintendent in 13 years; he even applied last year to the Miami Dade District, all the time feigning allegiance to our students.

I'm one teacher who is absolutely thrilled to see him go. I hope he takes the ill-conceived A/B day scheduling with him to his unpaid position at Harvard. Oh, that's right - college students are not permitted to carry eight classes at one time the way our students have been forced to do.

Valerie Misita Pringle

Annapolis The writer has been a teacher with the Anne Arundel County public school system for 28 years.

Superintendent drove away veteran staff

I am a newly retired Anne Arundel County teacher. The tenure of Eric Smith has done irreparable harm with the loss of veteran teachers and administrators. That loss is due to the vacuum in which he chose to make his decisions that affected the soldiers in the trenches. We became burdened with large class sizes, meetings to deal with curriculum, changes that erased any room for individualized instruction and creativity, and the stress of accountability for scores that require all students of all abilities learn at the same pace.

The public does not know about the waste of dollars for texts (many new) and courses that were disposed of, and the ensuing backpedaling to reinstate those courses when it became clear that we could not possibly meet the students' needs because of Smith's quick changes. The Board of Education should look to the veteran administrators that left Riva Road to work at the State Department of Education for a replacement who knows the community and values the employees.

Lynn Kolarik

Arnold The writer recently retired as a teacher from the Anne Arundel County public school system.

We want your opinions

THE ISSUE: William L. Howard was recently appointed as the Maryland court system's first ombudsman. Last year, after a survey found that more poor and minority respondents perceived discrimination and that 35 percent of the minority respondents thought the outcomes of cases would have been different if the race or ethnicity of people involved had been different, a commission recommended having someone take complaints from the public and promote the judiciary's position and programs on racial and ethnic fairness.

YOUR VIEW: Does the Maryland court system have a problem with bias? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your response short, and include your name, address and daytime phone number. A selection of responses will be published Sunday.

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