Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Even in such highly regarded districts as Montgomery County, we find school after school where barely one pupil in five is on track for college.
While public education in Maryland assuredly has bright spots and success stories, it's failing far too many of the state's children, with just 23 percent of 8th grade African-American students in Maryland "on track" toward college readiness in language arts according to the 2016 PARCC assessments and only 11 percent in math. That's because far too many young Marylanders are trapped in dreadful schools. Even in such highly regarded districts as Montgomery County, we find school after school where barely one pupil in five is on track for college...
...The state board, to my sorrow, lacks the statutory authority to remove either kids or schools from the clutches of failure. The General Assembly would need to act. Instead, by killing the bills that propose such changes while moving ahead with measures that forbid them, lawmakers will ensure that the status quo endures. They will declare that they're keeping public education public and preserving local control. But what they're really doing is preserving bad schools, existing power structures and middle-class jobs. The heck with the kids.
Chester E. Finn Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is vice president of the Maryland State Board of Education and distinguished senior fellow and president emeritus at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The views expressed here are his alone.