GUEST BLOG: My Two Questions for County Executive Baker
Guest post by RF – a PGCPS parent and PTA activist
County Executive Rushern Baker is making a bid to take over Prince George’s County Public Schools, and it seems likely he will succeed in his effort. Clearly, our schools are not where we want them to be, so one can see a valid rationale and logic in Mr. Baker’s attempt to gain control of the system. On these grounds, my initial inclination is to support the change. However, for me to be solidly behind Mr. Baker’s power grab, I would need him to answer two questions:
1. What happened with the County Executive’s “Commission for Education Excellence”? Is the commission still active and has it made any specific recommendations? The commission’s web page is badly out of date, and I can find no record of it producing any publicly released recommendations. If Mr. Baker is unable to steer his hand-picked 12-person committee to produce meaningful results, I am very hesitant to hand over full control of a school system of more than 120,000 students to him.
2. What specific issues does Mr. Baker plan to address if he takes over the system? What type of reform agenda does Mr. Baker believe in? There is no evidence that changing a school system’s governance structure alone will have a positive impact on student achievement. “School reform” can take many forms—some of which I fully support and some of which I don’t want to see implemented in our county.
The manner in which Mr. Baker is going for the power grab does not sit well with me. If he intends to vigorously implement meaningful and thoughtful reforms, I nevertheless welcome the shake-up. But, until Mr. Baker can provide us with more details about his reform agenda, I am unable to lend my support to his attempt to gain control of PGCPS.