Julie D. Hackett: Baltimore privates schools must address culture of racism

Immediately after students from Baltimore’s most elite private schools paraded images of themselves on social media wearing racially offensive Halloween costumes, heads of these schools dutifully released stock statements asserting zero tolerance policies and pledges to look further into the matter. It is hard, however, not to feel skeptical about whether — and how — they will actually address a culture of racist behavior that is deeper than just a few bad apples. (Balt. Sun)

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Andrew L. Yarrow: Early childhood care undervalued in Md.

When my son, now in college, started school in Maryland, he went to a private preschool, and only half-day public kindergarten existed. As for most young children in the United States, then and now, public early childhood education was unavailable. Full-day kindergarten is now the norm, and 35 percent of Maryland’s 4 year olds are enrolled in public preschool, with another 15 percent in private pre-K. But the state still lags behind the national average, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Because low-income children generally have less access, they are less “school ready” by kindergarten, generally perpetuating lifelong disparities. For a state that prides itself on its public education and is also among the nation’s wealthiest in per capita income, it is inexcusable that Maryland lacks free or affordable early childhood care and education. (Balt. Sun)

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November 10 // Josh Kurtz: Can Democrats move past Hogan=Trump? Maybe...

The timing of the announcement was purely coincidental. But Howard County Councilman Calvin Ball (D) officially kicked off his campaign for county executive Thursday night, just two days after Democrats made big gains in Virginia suburban counties that bear some demographic and economic resemblance to Howard. Ball believes the Democratic sweep Tuesday in Virginia – and in Frederick and Annapolis – along with voter antipathy for President Trump bode well for his attempt to oust County Executive Allan Kittleman (R) next year. (Md. Matters)

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Baltimore County schools' ethics gap

In case anyone who works for the Baltimore County school system isn’t clear on this yet, when you do a service for someone and they pay you for it, that’s called “earned income.” And when your ethics forms say you should report all outside earned income under the penalty of perjury, that is the kind of thing they’re talking about. The report by The Sun’s Liz Bowie and Doug Donovan that both former Superintendent Dallas Dance and current Interim Superintendent Verletta White were paid by an educational technology consulting company for their work in advising software and hardware developers is disturbing on any number of levels. (Balt. Sun)

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Thomas Wheatley: Maryland cross case is a chance to rethink the establishment clause

Towering over the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and U.S. Alternate Route 1 stands a 40-foot-tall cross bearing the names of 49 fallen Prince George’s County veterans of World War I. The cross has stood for nearly a century. Now, a 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit threatens to bring that impressive lifespan to an end. (Wash. Post)

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Brian Griffiths: Teachers union has politicized state's school issues

In October, the Maryland State Education Association, or MSEA, held its annual conference in Ocean City. On Oct. 20, schools were closed in 17 jurisdictions across Maryland so union members from those counties and Baltimore City could attend a taxpayer-funded political rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidates. At the convention those candidates paraded across the stage, each making fanciful and expensive promises regarding the future of public school education. There is no better example of how education funding has become politicized in our state. (Capital)

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Confronting a student's hate-filled rant

Privacy rules will make it difficult to learn what punishment, if any, is handed out to an Oakland Mills High School student who recently posted what was described as a racist rant on the social media platform Snapchat. The video snippet, showing a white male student uttering a racial slur while wearing a Confederate flag bandanna, has prompted a county police hate-crime investigation and is again forcing the school system’s leaders to confront ways to address such vile messages that can spread like wildfire. Calibrating the right response and maintaining consistency in handling subsequent incidents is the challenge facing everyone – school administrators, the police, lawmakers, students, parents and guardians. (Ho. Co. Times)

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November 9 // Baltimore County's 'common sense' school calendar

Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holy Days, wasn’t a day off from school in Allegany County this year. Students in Calvert and Caroline counties attended classes on Sept. 21, too. So did teachers in most every other jurisdiction in Maryland except for Baltimore County and a handful of others where there are so many Jewish students and teachers it was long ago deemed too impractical and costly to open schools on Rosh Hashanah. The Baltimore County school board voted Tuesday to approve an academic calendar that keeps schools closed next year on the Jewish High Holy Days. (Balt. Sun)

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