The Post's double standard on my legislative work
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.
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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