Baker has announced he's putting his own "skin in the game" by creating an education commission, an effort that will boost his involvement in improving a school system that ranks second to last among Maryland jurisdictions, trailing only Baltimore City Public Schools.
The commission draws expertise from all corners of the county -- members include the president of Prince George's Community College, a dean from the University of Maryland, College Park, PTA presidents and library officials.
Christian Rhodes, Baker's education liaison, said the goal is "to supplement and add to what the school system is doing."
"This is not in any way intended, or unintended, to step on anyone's toes," he said. "[Baker] wants to make education everyone's business. In order for us to be a quality school system, everybody has to be in the game."
Some school board members are cautiously optimistic that the education commission could help bring more dollars and resources to the schools, while holding off judgment until they learn more about the commission's intended relationship with the board.
School board member Carolyn Boston said she hopes the relationship between commission and board will be an alliance, not hostile.
"I'm really hoping that's not what the county executive is trying to do," Boston said. "I hope his intent is to partner with the board to make gains."
No board member reached for comment denied that Prince George's schools could use some assistance.
"There are members of the board that have concerns about what role this group will have," said school board member Edward Burroughs. "But the school system can't operate in isolation. That's a recipe for failure."
Concerns about Baker's foray into the school system may be heightened by a potential upheaval on the school board in November.
Almost every incumbent member of the board up for re-election was soundly defeated in primaries this spring by a younger generation of educators, including a U.Md. student challenging the board's chairman in November.
"Across the county, residents spoke loud and clear that what we have is not working and that we must have members of the board who are willing to roll up their sleeves and move the school system forward," Burroughs said. "Possibly that's what the county executive is saying, too."