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The Big Chill: O'Malley and Grasmick

Governor

The chilly relationship between Gov. Martin O'Malley and long-serving state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick shows no signs of thawing.

The latest evidence came during a radio interview yesterday when O'Malley (D) disclosed that he and Grasmick have not spoken except "in passing" since he took office two months ago. O'Malley also characterized Grasmick as an "ideologue" with regard to enforcing the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which the new governor called "one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public."

Through a spokesman, Grasmick declined to respond to the governor's comments, saying she had not heard O'Malley on "The Marc Steiner Show" on WYPR (88.1 FM) in Baltimore.

After his election in November, O'Malley made clear that he wanted Grasmick to go. She, however, serves at the pleasure of the State Board of Education, whose members serve staggered terms.

Asked by Steiner if he had spoken to Grasmick, who has held her job since 1991, O'Malley said: "I have spoken to her in passing a couple of times," adding: "We need to sit down and have an honest conversation."

The low point in their relationship came last year, while O'Malley was Baltimore mayor and Grasmick sought to have the state seize control of 11 low-performing Baltimore schools.

John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 20, 2007; 9:38 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Comments

I am with O'Malley on this one. Grasmick has not sufficiently responded to parents' concerns about testing. It's time for a change.

Posted by: Yockel | March 20, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I am sick and tired of O'Malley whining and complaining, why doesn't he do something about Grasmick. Oh, I guess his big accomplishment so far in office is shutting down Jessup Prison, give me a break. He's already turned Ehrlich's budget surplus into a deficit.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Actually, O'Mally inherited a budget deficit, not a surplus.

Posted by: jwb | March 20, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

don't forget O'Malley's also passed legislation to save the Maryland turtles, although his death penalty bill failed. Ehrlich left office with a huge surplus, Ehrlich campaigned on his surplus so O'Malley didn't inherit a deficit he inherited a surplus from Ehrlich. But O'Malley's turned Ehrlich's surplus into a deficit. This is just the beginning, it's going to be a long 4 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

the link to the article below discusses the $2 billion budget surplus created by Ehrlich. O'Malley has wiped it out now.

http://gazette.net/stories/101405/poliiss204351_31893.shtml

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

It's every governor's dream: A mountain of surplus cash so high it blocks the sun. Maryland's brightening fortunes may not be in that category, but Gov. Bob Ehrlich has an incredible sum of extra dollars to dispense in his election-year budget.State Comptroller William Donald Schaefer pegs the cumulative, available surplus next January at $1.7 billion.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

[NCLB is] "one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public."

That's the response you can expect from the former Baltimore City Mayor that failed to take any initiative to show adequate yearly progress in his school districts and couldn't measure up to NCLB.

Enforcing a Federal Act doesn't make someone an "idealogue"-labelling the Act as "fraud" simply because it's Bush policy does however.

Posted by: BG from PG | March 20, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Let's get back to the main topic of this article - Grasmick's penchant for ideology. At the 2.9.07 joint committee hearing in Annapolis Grasmick waved around a copy of the new Marc Tucker book Tough Times/Tough Choices (available @ NCEE.org) and very clearly stated that the ideology in that book is what she intended to implement during the next phase of her education reform agenda. We are not talking about any state or federal laws here, we are talking about the ideology of Marc Tucker and the National Center for Education and the Economy which promotes a global economy agenda. Under this ideology, and what the book very clearly outlines is that the MSDE will take total control over all education in this state. Including training, hiring and distrbution of all teachers - bye bye teacher's unions. All elected school boards will be eliminated (ask Mike Miller about his opinion on elected school boards). Mandatory state approved preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds. This is the same Marc Tucker that penned the "Dear Hillary" letter. It is NO coincidence that Tucker is back on the scene as soon as Hillary throws her hat into the ring! Get the facts, read the book!

Posted by: PBD | March 20, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Let's get back to the main topic of this article - Grasmick's penchant for ideology. At the 2.9.07 joint committee hearing in Annapolis Grasmick waved around a copy of the new Marc Tucker book Tough Times/Tough Choices (available @ NCEE.org) and very clearly stated that the ideology in that book is what she intended to implement during the next phase of her education reform agenda. We are not talking about any state or federal laws here, we are talking about the ideology of Marc Tucker and the National Center for Education and the Economy which promotes a global economy agenda. Under this ideology, and what the book very clearly outlines is that the MSDE will take total control over all education in this state. Including training, hiring and distrbution of all teachers - bye bye teacher's unions. All elected school boards will be eliminated (ask Mike Miller about his opinion on elected school boards). Mandatory state approved preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds. This is the same Marc Tucker that penned the "Dear Hillary" letter. It is NO coincidence that Tucker is back on the scene as soon as Hillary throws her hat into the ring! Get the facts, read the book!

Posted by: PBD | March 20, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Let's get back to the main topic of this article - Grasmick's penchant for ideology. At the 2.9.07 joint committee hearing in Annapolis Grasmick waved around a copy of the new Marc Tucker book Tough Times/Tough Choices (available @ NCEE.org) and very clearly stated that the ideology in that book is what she intended to implement during the next phase of her education reform agenda. We are not talking about any state or federal laws here, we are talking about the ideology of Marc Tucker and the National Center for Education and the Economy which promotes a global economy agenda. Under this ideology, and what the book very clearly outlines is that the MSDE will take total control over all education in this state. Including training, hiring and distrbution of all teachers - bye bye teacher's unions. All elected school boards will be eliminated (ask Mike Miller about his opinion on elected school boards). Mandatory state approved preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds. This is the same Marc Tucker that penned the "Dear Hillary" letter. It is NO coincidence that Tucker is back on the scene as soon as Hillary throws her hat into the ring! Get the facts, read the book!

Posted by: PBD | March 20, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"I am sick and tired of O'Malley whining and complaining, why doesn't he do something about Grasmick."

If you would read the article closely, it says he can't remove her. Wait, you don't even have to read it that closely: it's in the very first paragraphs.

Idiot.

Posted by: Dan | March 20, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Let's see.... Maryland has the second best test scores in the nation. Baltimore City has the worst. Grasmick ran Maryland's schools. O'Malley ran the city's.

Who do YOU want in charge here?

Posted by: Mont Co voter | March 20, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Pretty hilarious for O*Malley to be calling someone ELSE a fraud and an ideologue. Just see how many of his campaign promises he keeps, and how often he strays from the liberal democrat handbook.

Posted by: gitarre | March 20, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

What about Thornton, which is not working, and which was passed without any funding source?

Posted by: Robin Ficker | March 20, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

citing a Barry Rascovar column from the Gazette is not precisely an unbiased source. He is a raving right-wing loon whose most recent column was a spittle-dripping rant.

The point of his 2005 column was to try to argue that Ehrlich was in good position to dole out the goodies to help his reelection campaign, and how great it would work out for him.

Yeah, that was a great prediction, Barry. Don't take this guy to Pimlico, folks.

Oh, and assuming that Rascovar was right, I would suspect that Ehrlich probably did spend all of the money, thus pissing away the surplus in 2006. Now, we are facing a structural deficit that is the result of Ehrlich's repeated use of budget gimmicks to defer the ongoing deficit. In short, he ran out of "rainy day" money to keep plugging the holes. Judgment Day was going to be here in 2007 regardless of who won the election.

Posted by: deficits don't just happen in one year | March 20, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm always fascinated at how successfully programmed Stepford conservatives are. Now they actually expect everyone to believe that Erhlich left O'Malley with a surplus! The fact of the matter is that a structural deficit would have existed had Erhlich been reelected. The primary reason for this is that expenditures are projected to exceed revenue. It's basic math. As for Grasmick, she allowed her office to be politicized. She has served long enough. Buh bye!

Posted by: James Butler | March 20, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you idiot, O'Malley can do something about Grasmick like sit down and have a talk with her to help move things forward. Here's a news flash friend -- whining like O'Malley always does is not the only option. Get real.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

The true test will be how O'Malley handles the deficit he created, if his track record in Baltimore is any indication, he won't handle it well. He left the schools in Baltimore virtually bankrupt. Not a good manager.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 20, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like O'Malley is finding that Grasmick isn't impressed with his bully boy tactics and he lacks the diplomatic skills to resolve his issues with her.

Martin, you're a total loser.

Posted by: Rufus | March 21, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

i am sick and tired of reading Baltimore Sun articles about all of O'Malley's great accomplishments as Gov for 2 mths like saving the turtle and shutting down a prison, can you imagine if he had any real accomplishments what they might say???? What a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 21, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Ok, please tell me how you can poeple can look at budgets and one can say surplus and one can say the opposite? That is the problem right there, 2 parties fighting over which side did what and who gets to lay claim to the the White House or the State House. None of you idiots are actually in it for the people. I personally think the whole thing should be scrapped and we start new with people who actually work for a living and have real needs. Because when 2 people can look at a budget, which is math, and because of their stupid party lines see it different...we have really gone to far. Get over your selves and start to push your elected officials to agree on something, anything. Compromise was something your mothers were suppose to teach you, they did a terrible job.

Posted by: Amanda | March 21, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how you can say this woman was in charge of education in "Maryland" and O'malley was in charge of education in "Baltimore". Baltimore is part of Maryland just like any of the other cities. Being a major urban area of course there will be lower test scores because the families aren't as affluent and stable as families living in Montgomery County for example. You are comparing apples to oranges by seperating Baltimore out and then blaming O'Malley.

Posted by: GLB | March 21, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The state superintendent is hired by the state board of education. The governor, no matter who he/she is cannot simply remove the superintendent. I seriously doubt that these two will ever sit down and have a civil conversation because O'Malley has suffered politically at Grasmick's hand when he was mayor of Baltimore. O'Malley however does have control over who serves on the state board of education, which up until this day has had a bunch of rubber-stampers hand picked by the state superintendent herself. Who else do you know that can actually pick their own boss? Back in the `90's Grasmick took control over most of Baltimore's schools. She even went as far as telling the Baltimore City BOE who they had to hire as their "CEO". Make no mistake about it, Grasmick has total control over all education in this state, and that includes Baltimore City.

Posted by: PBD Calvert | March 22, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

i am sick and tired of hearing O'Malley and his people make excuse after excuse after excuse after excuse for the total lack of progress under his administration. It's time for a change.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

i am sick and tired of hearing O'Malley and his people make excuse after excuse after excuse after excuse for the total lack of progress under his administration. It's time for a change.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Looks as though things are heading southband pretty fast for O'Malley even among his own party. From the Baltimore Sun:

"But not everyone agrees with how O'Malley has directed his administration in the early days of his term. Though he has made significant moves in corrections, juvenile services and other areas, he has shied away from taking major action on the $1.3 billion budget deficit that analysts expect Maryland to face next year, much to the chagrin of leaders in the General Assembly, including Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller. Said Miller: "The governor has this tremendous feeling of good will following the election," Miller said. "I wouldn't say he's squandered it, but he let an opportunity go by in that he could have used it to move forward more quickly. He's looking at the long term, but this is a problem that's not going away and only gets worse every day we delay."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 26, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should go back and re-read Amanda's post. The problem is politics: political office should never have become a career. Three cheers for the notion of actual civic duty over self serving politicians.

Posted by: Elliot | March 27, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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