Education Beat: City schools leadership moving to embrace choice

By Mike Bowler Barring another weather catastrophe, the city school board will vote this evening on the renewal of several charter school contracts. One school, Dr. Rayner Browne in East Baltimore, is likely to lose its contract for lack of performance. This doesn’t mean Rayner Browne will close. More likely, it will become a “regular” public school with a revamped curriculum and new leadership. I attended the board meeting at which the contract renewals were announced and parents and staff from Browne and the other schools rallied. The meeting took on the atmosphere of a pep rally. At one point schools CEO Andres Alonso donned a City Springs School shirt and declared, “I love City Springs,” although he recommended only a two-year contract extension, not the five years sought by the school. Much is at stake. Remaining a charter school means continuing to operate independently while on the public dole. It... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Washington Post goes to war

The two most powerful voices in Montgomery County at election time are the Washington Post and the teachers union. So it’s been breathtaking — if not altogether surprising — to see the Post take after the teachers union with unbridled ferocity over the past few weeks. So much for the myth of the liberal media. The endorsements of both the Post and the union are highly coveted by candidates for the legislature and county offices, and they can literally alter the outcome of certain Democratic primaries — because even in a highly-educated, hyper-political place like the D.C. suburbs, how many people really know or care who the candidates for the House of Delegates are in District 19? The union, the Montgomery County Education Association, usually makes its choices known a few months before the September primary. Its trademarked “Apple Ballot,“ listing candidates who are “teacher recommended,“ lands in tens of thousands... Continue reading
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The Video Lottery Commission's Letter to the Governor

Maryland's Video Lottery Commission is attracting some headlines for its recent recommendations to Governor Martin O'Malley and the General Assembly leadership on changing the state's slots law. Here's the article in the Daily Record on the letter. Panel urges slot changes for Maryland And click here to the read the actual letter.... Continue reading
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Survey: What college students are saying about Baltimore

The Baltimore Collegetown Network has released results of its survey of how area college students perceive Baltimore. The survey -- conducted every three years -- found that 78 percent of the 3,364 students who responded would recommend the Baltimore region as a good place to go to school. That is a 5 percentage point increase over three years ago. Almost a third of the students said they would definitely or likely stay in the area after graduation. That's about the same percent as in 2006, and about a 65 percent increase over the 2003 survey. What's missing from Baltimore? Better public transportation, according to 31.8 percent who named it at the top their list. Only 11 percent of students reported using the MTA bus or light rail to travel around Baltimore. The Baltimore Collegetown Network is a 12-year old consortium of 14 area schools. It aims to articulate the message that... Continue reading
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What Marylanders are saying about electricity and competitive choice

A coalition of electricity suppliers, large electricity users and retailers released the results of a poll on Thursday looking at the views of Maryland voters on the state's electricity market and competitive choice. The poll, conducted by Steve Raabe and his Annapolis-based firm, OpinionWorks, found that Marylanders prefer being able to shop for their own electricity suppliers -- but almost half do not know that they currently have the option to shop. Read the complete poll memo from OpinionWorks here. Read the questions and answers from the poll here. Disclosure: Several founders of Center Maryland were involved in commissioning the poll and work with the coalition on electricity issues.... Continue reading
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