Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun
January 27, 1998
The biggest achievement of the 1997 General Assembly session was a landmark agreement to provide higher funding for Baltimore City schools in exchange for increased state oversight. The Sun recognized three people who made that happen Walter Sondheim and Nancy Grasmick (pictured above) and Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings (pictured on the next page). "As in any long-term initiative, many people have played significant roles. But three people deserve special praise -- state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, State Board of Education member Walter Sondheim Jr., and Del. Howard 'Pete' Rawlings, the city legislator who chairs the House Appropriations Committee and who shaped a funding agreement acceptable to his colleagues and the governor, while persuading hostile city officials to accept new measures of education accountability."
Of Ms. Grasmick, the editors wrote, "Even a cursory look at education news in Maryland this year reveals the central role she plays in education reform: Brokering the city-state partnership agreement; drawing up a statewide plan for additional school funding and then persuading often-rival political leaders to sign on; devising a phased-in series of competency tests for high school graduates that the state board recently accepted. The last proposal initially elicited fierce opposition. But Dr. Grasmick's ability to listen and respond to critics smoothed the way for a unanimous vote."
Mr. Sondheim's resume "covers almost every area of civic life. As a respected business executive, he was instrumental in the resurgence of Baltimore's downtown starting in the 1960s and '70s. But he has also been a significant influence on education over the years."