Ehrlich speaks the international language of politics
Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. visited a Baltimore charter school today and -- in addition to dispensing advice to the student council -- said he would be announcing his education platforms in the coming weeks.
"I love charter schools," Ehrlich told a group of students and teachers at Baltimore International Academy, adding that he'd come there "to highlight what you're doing at this school."
Maryland began approving charter schools during Ehrlich's first term in office. The Republican is seeking to reclaim the seat from Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who defeated him in 2006.
At his visit to the academy, Ehrlich said his education plan would include ways to "strengthen and expand" charter schools. Two months ago, the day he announced his candidacy, Ehrlich vowed to double the number of charter schools. There are now 42, the vast majority of them in Baltimore, according to the Maryland Charter School Network. Charter schools are independently operated but publicly funded and monitored by school boards.
Baltimore International Academy, in its third year of operation, enrolls 348 kids from kindergarten through seventh grade. Children receive their lessons, from reading to math, in a language such as Chinese or French.
Ehrlich ducked into a classroom conducted in Chinese and chatted with kindergartners learning Spanish. He spoke with the student council, a handful of seventh graders who were eager for his advice.
One child asked, "How many years of school does it take to become governor?" Ehrlich told them he'd had 19 years of education, including law school. The former governor joked with the two students who were elected to serve on the student-parent council. What campaign promises did you make? (Pizza usually works, he said.)