Learning curve


The coming months will be very telling when it comes to the direction Harford County Public Schools will be taking in the future.

The first three elected members of a board of education, recently expanded from seven to nine members, have been seated, and the appointed members of the board appear to have been chosen with a political eye toward having people in office who can face the voters when the time comes.

And there's the matter of Nancy Grasmick retiring this year as State Superintendent of Schools after about two decades in that office.

Under the old all-appointed school board system that was in place in Harford County, a system seemed to evolve wherein the governor appointed board members not likely to challenge the state superintendent, and the superintendent also managed to get a say in who ended up being appointed to the county superintendent's office. For better or worse, everyone in school leadership positions in Harford and many other counties, has been on the same page.

The unfortunate result has been a recognition that certain things need to be done differently so as to ensure the school system's graduates are prepared for basic employment or higher education or both, but the most frequent way to make the change as been to continue doing things the same way, only with a lot more money. Consider, for example, that Harford County enrollment has been static for the past several years, yet new schools have been built and school system spending has increased at a rate substantially higher than the rate of inflation.

Perhaps having a few people who answer to someone other than a state superintendent in the management structure will provide a little more diversity of thought when it comes to dealing with issues facing the school system.

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