Corey Gaber: Reporting Baltimore students’ low test scores, media misses who really failed

Forgive me for offering a back-to-school lesson (I’m a teacher, it’s what I do!), but as another academic year commences I want to point out what is so wrong about the way the mainstream media report Maryland students’ scores on standardized tests: They ignore decades of educational research showing that family income and other outside-of-school factors impact student achievement more than anything else. When the results come back after students take their annual state-mandated Partnership for Assessments of Career and College Readiness (PARCC) tests, the Baltimore Sun and other outlets regularly commit journalistic neglect. (Brew)

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Erik Dihle, Morgan Grove: Preserving Baltimore's trees requires coordination, cooperation

Baltimore City’s tree cover increased from 27 percent to 28 percent between 2007 and 2015, based on data analyzed by the U.S. Forest Service and in collaboration with City of Baltimore and the University of Vermont. Tree canopy coverage for cities in the United States ranges from less than 20 percent to upwards of 40, with several cities, including Detroit and coastal Los Angeles, experiencing a loss during the same time period. Baltimore’s 1 percent net gain equates to an additional 200 acres of tree coverage for the city, and thereby provides residents with a continued increase in benefits such as a reduction in utility bills and storm water runoff. This is great news for Baltimore. (Balt. Sun)

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September 5 // Hogan's ho-hum cuts

It's amazing, as we head into an election year, how much political posturing can attach itself to something as minor as a 0.14 percent cut in the state budget. Gov. Larry Hogan’s budget secretary says the $68 million in proposed spending reductions that will go before the Board of Public Works for approval are needed because the Democratic-majority legislature has failed to heed the Republican executive’s warnings about mandated spending. Democrats accuse Mr. Hogan of pursuing the cuts at a time when they aren’t necessary in a way that isn’t transparent and in a manner that dodges his own responsibility for putting the state on sounder fiscal footing. (Balt. Sun)

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Amy P. Hennen: Lawmakers must end debtors' prisons in Maryland

The Baltimore Sun recently reported on a rarely used legal maneuver that has resulted in the arrest of more than 100 people for their failure to pay rent. The existence of this tactic as a legal process is somewhat surprising since it is on par with putting people in jail for being poor (which is illegal). The bigger surprise is that the person behind its increased use is President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. (Balt. Sun)

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Our off-key state song needs an overhaul

Although it’s not every poem that rhymes “Baltimore” with “patriotic gore” — giving the great literary critic Edmund Wilson an apt title for his 1962 study of Civil War-era writings — we’ve never been fans of James Ryder Randall’s words for “Maryland, My Maryland.” When legislators file back into the State House in January, taking note that Chief Justice Roger B. Taney is no longer watching downtown Annapolis from his perch in front of the old wing, we expect the on-again, off-again issue of replacing or rewriting the state song to be on again. (Capital)

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Linganore principal right to ban headdress

Taking a bold stance against “hostile and abusive” imagery in 2005, the NCAA voted to ban all such nicknames and mascots from postseason activities. The decision by the supreme ruling body of collegiate sports prompted dozens of schools to alter logos, mascots and nicknames that were viewed as disparaging to Native American culture. Today, few Native American nicknames remain in collegiate athletics. High school sports, though, are another story. According to one study a couple of years ago, there are about 2,000 Native American-inspired mascots in high schools across the country. And now, at a time of heightened sensitivity about potentially offensive symbols, the use of a headdress at Linganore High School is the focus of dueling petitions over whether it should be banned. (News-Post)

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Charly Carter: Montgomery County deserves a $15 minimum wage

This Labor Day, Montgomery County working families deserve more than a day off at the shore. They deserve a $15 minimum wage. The increasingly high cost of living in Montgomery County has the potential for economic crisis as workers aren’t earning enough to meet their basic needs. This fall, the Montgomery County Council has an opportunity to get ahead of it by supporting the “Fight for $15” effort and raising the minimum wage from $11.50 to $15 by 2020. (Wash. Post)

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Paul M. Bessel: Should the Montgomery County Council change?

Montgomery County has a larger population than almost 10 states and is still growing. Its legislative body, the Montgomery County Council, makes decisions on myriad issues. That council has nine members, four of whom are at-large, elected to four-year terms by all county voters, and five of whom are elected to four-year terms from districts established every decade after the national census. Because of voter-approved term limits enacted last year, council members are limited to three terms. Is this the best way for the County Council to be structured? (Wash. Post)

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