“Labor Day Madness”

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The Sun weighs in on the expected executive order from Larry Hogan today mandating a school start date after Labor Day. They’re right.

Public education is a serious business, and there are far greater stakes involved than whether Thrasher’s can sell a few more fries. If Maryland’s elected leaders pursued only one goal, it ought to be this: Nurturing the nation’s best public schools and raising academic standards for all no matter their race, religion, ethnicity or income level, a policy that would do more to eliminate poverty, attract new business and employment opportunities and lower the crime rate in Baltimore and elsewhere than almost anything else one could imagine.

Most Marylanders understand this, and it’s why the state’s most economically successful jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Howard counties, take particular pride in the quality of schools and invest huge sums in them. Mr. Franchot and his cheering section point to polls that show a majority of state residents would prefer school started after Labor Day. But voters also want the best possible education for their children and grandchildren and may not realize the extent to which these two goals conflict. When in doubt, let school boards decide.

Let’s see what happens today, but it doesn’t look good. The Sun notes, as I have with increasing frequency lately, that Hogan seems hell bent on confrontation with Maryland Democrats.

The General Assembly may yet intervene — lawmakers have rejected the post-Labor Day mandate in the past — but perhaps that kind of confrontation with Democrats in Annapolis over a potential wedge issue is what the governor wants in the first place.

For a year and a half, Hogan showed, with some notable exceptions, a deft dexterity in his relations with Democratic leaders in Annapolis. Lately, however, he’s been clumsy and oafish, choosing his battles foolishly (the “road kill” bill, seriously?) and resorting to childish name calling (union thugs, anybody?). Someone needs to remind Hogan that Bob Ehrlich, who practiced a similarly confrontational and pugilistic politics from 2003-07, got his ass handed to him in his 2006 reelection bid.

Only 797 blogging days until Election Day 2018. Let’s make the most of each and every one, shall we?

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