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The Big Chill: O'Malley and Grasmick

The chilly relationship between Gov. Martin O'Malley and long-serving state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick shows no signs of thawing.

The latest evidence came during a radio interview yesterday when O'Malley (D) disclosed that he and Grasmick have not spoken except "in passing" since he took office two months ago. O'Malley also characterized Grasmick as an "ideologue" with regard to enforcing the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which the new governor called "one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public."

Through a spokesman, Grasmick declined to respond to the governor's comments, saying she had not heard O'Malley on "The Marc Steiner Show" on WYPR (88.1 FM) in Baltimore.

After his election in November, O'Malley made clear that he wanted Grasmick to go. She, however, serves at the pleasure of the State Board of Education, whose members serve staggered terms.

Asked by Steiner if he had spoken to Grasmick, who has held her job since 1991, O'Malley said: "I have spoken to her in passing a couple of times," adding: "We need to sit down and have an honest conversation."

The low point in their relationship came last year, while O'Malley was Baltimore mayor and Grasmick sought to have the state seize control of 11 low-performing Baltimore schools.

— John Wagner
Washington Post


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