Column by Wick Byron
Gaithersburg Gazette, January 18, 1979
Members of the Montgomery County Press Association aren’t easily impressed. They were last Friday. None talked. None tuned her out. This lady held their attention by her sheer intelligence, sincerity, and dedication. One had to listen. She had something important to say.
Yes, Marian Greenblatt is one of those rare individuals blessed with an unusually good brain, a humility that comes across, and a whole bundle of common sense. People here, especially parents of school children in the county system, should thank God she is President of the Montgomery County Board of Education and with enough backing on the board to lead us on a level path.
Mrs. Greenblatt is young. She is the mother of three children. I will get around to interviewing her at a later date. All of us should know more about this remarkable woman. How did she get such a wonderful understanding of what a school system should be?
Mrs. Greenblatt was a member of the School Board when the majority on that body (she wasn’t one of it) voted before the election to give Dr. Bernardo another four-year term contract even though his present one doesn’t expire until next September. This premature action on the part of the old Board was a campaign issue. Three candidates ran on a platform that included rescinding that new unwarranted contract. They won. This should tell us something. They joined Mrs. Greenblatt in demanding Bernardo’s dismissal. Dr. Bernardo should have gotten the message and left quietly. Instead, he went to the courts.
In other words, there are now four out of seven school board members who want Bernardo to leave - even before the expiration of his present contract. The majority of the voters feel the same way.
Mrs. Greenblatt wants every child in our school system to be able to read and write when he graduates. This didn’t seem to be Bernardo’s main concern. He has been too busy reading the dictionary and preparing himself as the “superior educator.”
Another thing is evident. No group, including some members of the NAACP, is going to threaten this lady and get away with it. She has done her homework. She knows that black people are good citizens and that their children are to be educated in the same intelligent manner as are other children. There is certainly no need for teachers and others in the system to take special outside courses in black culture, unless they want to, in order to teach and understand this minority group.
This great country is made up of many cultures. All are here to join our society. Most want to learn how best to adapt to our way of life. There is no need to set any group apart from the others. Mrs. Greenblatt made this very clear.
Marian Greenblatt is the best thing that has happened to our school system for a long time.
Too often the board’s makeup consisted of do-gooders who didn’t understand the real function of a school board, the role of the superintendent, teachers or the staff. Many never understood what young people should get from an educational experience. Mrs. Greenblatt and her three associates (the majority) seem to understand a bit clearer than others.
She knows Montgomery County has an outstandingly bright citizenry. It is reasonable to expect the majority of the children to be excellent achievers. She also has the intelligence to know that all children aren’t tops in brains or desires to excel scholastically. She knows there are many young people who want to do things with their hands. Therefore, she hopes that plans for vocational schools in our county will materialize. They should.
If it were up to me, I would like to see Marian Greenblatt considered as a most qualified replacement for Dr. Bernardo, the present superintendent of the Montgomery County School System.