MONTGOMERY COUNTY School Superintendent Charles M. Bernardo has said some harsh things while fighting the termination of his contract. Whatever residents may think of Mr. Bernardo's performance over the years as superintendent, the fact is that the county has spoken officially against his continuing in office-and he should have the good grace to take leave without any more bad-mouthing of Montgomery in general and a county circuit court in particular. A majority of the school board-including three members who campaigned vigorously and victoriously last, fall for Mr. Bernardo's ouster-has done what it pledged to do, and has been upheld by the court.
No longer is it a matter of which of his administrative moves has been successful, for Mr. Bernardo has joined a growing number of school superintendents, police chiefs and other national figures with change-oriented policies for local governments-and shortlived terms. The constructive changes often live on well beyond the term of the administrator, whose effectiveness as a leader of the rank-and-file is eroded.Though the changes may be significant, they often are unappreciated-whether they are internal improvements in race relations on a police force or, in schools almost everywhere, the closing of cherished neighborhood institutions.
So it was that the new majority on Montgomery's elected school board declared its intention to redistribute school money from administration to the classroom, to focus instruction back toward basic studies and to dismiss Mr. Bernardo, whom the members considered insensitive to the teachers and "traditional" educational teaching. But now that the court has cleared the way for Mr Bernardo's replacement, he is appealing the decision, claiming in a cheap shot that the action by the lower court reflects "its attraction to the political moment." Mr. Bernardo also says he is being made a scapegoat by people "who are unwilling and unable" to make hard political choices in era of change. Maybe that very unwillingness applies to the superintendent himself; but these bitter parting shots sound more and more like the bad old days of Superintendent Barbara Sizemore in the District.