Capital Editorial

Our Say: Schuh’s effort to influence school board faces tough path, Capital, January 12, 2016.

Snider Comment

I have covered the SBNC closely since its creation in 2007 and have never before seen the Capital, legislative leaders, or SBNC commissioners use in public the distinction between “political appointees” and “community members” to characterize the difference between the SBNC commissioners appointed by elected officials (6 commissioners) versus stakeholder groups (5).  In particular, the use of “community members” instead of the previous “stakeholders” seems an extraordinarily loaded shift in the framing of the debate.  If the Capital wants to engage in this fraught shift in terminology, I suggest that it put “community members” in scare quotes to indicate to the public that its terminology to describe the two sets of commissioners is, to say the least, controversial.  The reason the Maryland General Assembly set up the SBNC so as to give elected official appointees a majority on the Commission was because they knew it would be wildly unpopular—and thus politically indefensible—to give “stakeholders” majority control.  The Capital’s adoption of this terminology, copied from the stakeholders’ new framing after they lost veto power over SBNC nominees late last fall, thus conflicts with original legislative intent and should be noted as such.