Michael Steele's broken promise to Douglass High
I wonder what recent graduates of Frederick Douglass High School think of Michael Steele's rise to the national Republican Party leader.
Three years ago -- on Feb. 1, 2006, in the midst of the bitter Ehrlich/O'Malley gubernatorial campaign that used city schools as a political football -- I was part of the press corps when Steele paid a three-hour visit to Douglass. At a meeting in the school library, he humiliated then-schools CEO Bonnie Copeland and then-Principal Isabelle Grant by talking about what a horrible school it was in front of the media. And he looked students in the eye and promised them he'd make it better. "When one asked if he would put that in writing, he said, 'I'm asking you to check me on it. My word is my bond,'" my Feb. 2, 2006, article reported.
Douglass has improved since then, as it has parterned with Talent Development at Johns Hopkins University. But it's not thanks to Steele, who said before leaving office as Maryland's lieutenant governor that the school system didn't want his help.
When Steele visited Douglass, he made a point of noting that the carpet in that library was taped together. That was something simple he could fix. I thought of that day when I was back in the Douglass library recently for a press conference announcing a Maryland Business Roundtable initiative to get students into more rigorous courses. As it happened, my seat was right next to the piece of tape in the carpet.