January 31, 2008

Maryland Power Struggle

Democratic leaders in the Maryland General Assembly will likely introduce a bill early next week aimed at rescinding the recent reappointment of State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick.

The proposal would make it so that the four-year term of a superintendent would end two years into the tern of a new governor, thus allowing the governor to have input into the selection process. Additionally, the bill would give the governor the option of appointing an education adviser to his or her Cabinet. Currently the state superintendent is the only member of the Cabinet that does not serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

A senior aide in the office of Governor Martin O'Malley said, "The governor is not interested in exercising direct control over the appointment of the superintendent, but the current system doesn't make sense."

The board's decision in December to extend Grasmick's term drew sharp criticism from both the governor and democratic members of the state assembly.

The legislation would push back the end of Grasmick's term to December, when O'Malley appointees will have gained a majority on the State Board of Education.

State Senate President Miller commented, "If they look at her and say she's the best person for the job, then she should kepp the job, but this is a lady who is closely aligned with the enemy camp implementing your policy on something as important as education."

Read more here.