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Posted at 1:45 PM ET, 11/13/2010

The Post's double standard on my legislative work

By Paul G. Pinsky, University Park

The Nov. 11 editorial “Race away from the top” called into question my integrity and claimed I should recuse myself on voting, as a state senator, on education issues because I work for teachers and their union. I have worked in education — as a teacher, elected union leader and now union staffer — for 35 years. I have served in the Maryland General Assembly, a part-time legislature, since 1987. I have voted hundreds of times over those years on education-related issues. Why now, after all these years, is The Post demanding that I recuse myself?

Does The Post have a double standard? The Post has never called on lawmakers with business interests to recuse themselves on votes involving corporate tax loopholes. Nor has it asked for recusal by doctors who vote for medical malpractice “tort reform,” or agribusiness owners who vote against pollution controls to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

In addition, the Senate committee I chair did not, as The Post charged, vote against education reform. My Senate colleagues and I voted to allow school systems around our state to keep successful teacher and principal evaluation systems.

The regulations that the State Education Department promulgated would have forced school districts to drop successful teacher evaluation systems and impose in their place a simplistic approach that doesn’t comply with legislation passed by the General Assembly. For instance, the state education superintendent’s regulations would have replaced the successful Montgomery County peer-assistance approach to teacher quality with a plan that would have required a massive expansion of student testing and imposed an unproven numerical evaluation formula.

Post editorial writers make it hard to reasonably debate the merits of any legislative vote when they throw around charges of “conflict of interest” against those who disagree with them. I plead guilty to standing by teachers who support high standards for teacher quality.

The writer, a Democrat, represents the 22nd District in the Maryland Senate.

By Paul G. Pinsky, University Park  | November 13, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Montgomery County, Prince George's County, education, schools  
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The Senator paraphrased: Ethics---most in Maryland's legislature disregard them, so why shouldn't I?

Not very persuasive.

Posted by: confounded | November 13, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"In addition, the Senate committee I chair did not, as The Post charged, vote against education reform."

So the Post actually lied, which you were able to prove, which is probably the reason they even allowed this rebuttal. They should have personally taken responsibility by correcting the error and apologizing for it, but at least this column is something.

Beware, though. I predict that revenge is coming. It's their way. [e.g. failing to endorse popular DC councilmember Mary Cheh who endorsed Gray for Mayor instead of Fenty - the Post's pick.]

It's ironic that the Ombudsman's column today is on cracking down on journalistic ethics. I sure would like to see the style book section on editorials.

Posted by: efavorite | November 14, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

the facts remain:

Senator Pinksy was elected to SERVE the citizens of Prince George's County.

Sorry Pinsky, your rebuttal serves nothing more then decreased level of responsibility toward the people you were elected to serve. You were NOT voted into office to serve the Montgomery County Teachers Union.

If nothing else you missed an opportunity to become a leader that had an opportunity to demonstrate proper judgment and not primarily serve unions or lobbyist interest. failed to mention that the teachers' union in Baltimore and Prince George's County support the RttT application.

Shame on you for NOT supporting
"teachers who support high standards for teacher quality" within YOUR district of Prince George's County.

Posted by: PGCResident1 | November 15, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Senator Pinsky, how can you expect honesty from the WaPo? What they want is more testing and more teacher bashing so the WaPo owned Kaplan Testing can make more money. The WaPo is antiunion and antiworker and has a whole lot of dogs in this fight!

Posted by: lacy4 | November 15, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

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