Editor’s note: This commentary was submitted in response to an op-ed published earlier this week by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Shea.
What Maryland students can’t afford is another year of Maryland and, in particular, Montgomery County’s political correctness. I have been watching the school system deteriorate over the last 30 years.
When I first moved to Montgomery County, young parents moved to our county and state because our school system was the best in the country and businesses used that to recruit new, well-educated employees, who wanted a better future for their children. Over the years that dynamic has reversed and young parents are seeing their children graduating from high school with such deficiencies in their basic education they have to take additional courses at the community college before being accepted at the college of their choice.
This is the direct result of teachers not being able to teach more than a few minutes per day because of the lack of discipline in the classroom, which they are unable to remedy without being accused of racism, the mixing of children with special needs based on their age vs. their ability to comprehend the subjects at that level (i.e. children who not only cannot speak English, but cannot read or write in their own language), and the administrative burdens placed on them by the administrators trying to justify their jobs.
The idea that a teacher cannot hold a child back because they are not ready to move up to the next grade, unless the parents agree, is ridiculous. And, even more ridiculous is the idea they would be willing to hold a child back, whose only idea of going to school is to resist the teacher’s efforts to teach, and take the chance they would get the same child back in their classroom the next year.
Throwing more money into this pit is not the answer. The answer is to give the principals the right to send the malcontents home, set up special classes for children that need special help to catch up with their peers, and develop a peer review system that tests each child before they are moved up to the next class and get rid of the teachers who pass children up who are not qualified. The latter can only be applied after the first two conditions are put in place because it is not the teachers who are at fault here. It is the fault of our superintendents of the schools and our county and state school administrators.
Richard Jurgena, a retired naval commander, is chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party.