Karen Houppert: Baltimore's violence is worse than Chicago's, but can our schools be better?

Take note, Baltimore: Major urban school districts with high numbers of poor children are not, in fact, faced with insurmountable obstacles when it comes to properly educating kids, according to a discussion draft of a Stanford University study published Monday by the Center for Education Policy Analysis. Highlighted in the analysis were Chicago’s spectacular improvements: Disadvantaged children there entered school testing low on standardized tests, but over five years — from third to eighth grades — they grew six years academically, catching up with their peers despite, as the New York Times noted in a story about the study, “perpetual budget cuts, contentious school closings, rising crime and financial crisis.” (Balt. Sun)

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December 7 // Faith Goldstein: Buckley's inauguration a great moment for city's unity

Most Americans don’t realize that the west coast of Australia is very different from our West Coast. Basically, Perth is the only city in the area, and it is a six-hour fight from Sydney on the east coast. If you grow up in Perth, like Gavin Buckley, our new mayor, you have wanderlust and hear the sirens calling. They lured him to Annapolis. Gavin’s Inaugural Ball Monday was an extraordinary moment. Many who attended have lived in Annapolis their entire lives. I have not. I spent the first 17 years in Louisville, Kentucky, where the railroad station had water fountains that said “colored only" and “whites only” into the early ’50s. I lived in Montgomery County for 40 years and never attended an event at which the crowd wasn’t 99 percent white — and it was a liberal county. (Capital)

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Hogan, Pugh and the crime fight

Mayor Catherine Pugh believes we must combat Baltimore’s “out of control” crime by addressing the systemic problems of poor education, limited economic opportunities and disparities in the physical environment that underlie Baltimore’s violence. Gov. Larry Hogan says that what Ms. Pugh is talking about does not constitute a plan to reduce the crime that is terrorizing our neighborhoods every day. He says we need to take steps that will get violent, repeat offenders off the streets immediately and keep them off. They’re both right. (Balt. Sun)

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Dan Rodricks: Arrests are down in Baltimore, but is quality up?

An old lawyer-friend stopped me on the sidewalk Tuesday and complained that Baltimore police are not being aggressive enough. I hear that a lot. We all do. We hear that the cops are not making enough arrests, and if we only went back to the Martin O’Malley method — 100,000 arrests per year — the city would not be in the third year of a homicidal surge. To be sure, the numbers are down significantly from the days of the O’Malley ArrestFest. Taking a more targeted approach, toward violent repeat offenders, started after O’Malley became governor of Maryland and Sheila Dixon replaced him as mayor of Baltimore, and while Leonard Hamm and Fred Bealefeld served as police commissioners. (Balt. Sun)

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December 6 // Meghan Ellis and John Sebastian: Baltimore judges misinterpret new rule to mean no bail — ever

Baltimore City is losing the battle against pre-trial mass incarceration. Our jail system is simply overburdened with individuals who have not been convicted of a crime. There are two primary drivers at work here: Poor people cannot pay bail amounts that bear absolutely no relation to their income levels, and the judicial system, straining under volume, spends too little time prior to trial seriously considering whether the charges against poor people are even remotely grounded in reality. (Balt. Sun)

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Rachel Brown, Christie Chung, and Julia Sine: Baltimore continues to improperly incarcerate poor people pre-trial

In making a rule change that went into effect this summer, the Court of Appeals of Maryland deliberately intended to reform the state’s pretrial detention system by limiting the use of cash bail and its frequent effect: incarcerating non-violent defendants solely because they can’t afford the price for release while they await trial. Yet our experience as student-lawyers in our law school’s Access to Justice Clinic shows that people charged with non-violent offenses continue to be held improperly. (Balt. Sun)

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Inaugural hoopla ushers in new officials

Monday’s public inaugural ceremonies in Annapolis made a good case for taking the ceremony out of doors from now on and putting it down in front of any local residents who want to come and watch. City government is grueling public service work that makes officeholders the focus for local grievances. So was not frivolous to usher these officials in with a little morale-boosting hoopla, especially given that the taxpayers — beyond underwriting the police protection, as they do with every march in the city — were not paying for it. (Capital)

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Jon Korin: Transportation should be about choice

How do you travel from home to work? Or to school, shopping or recreation? Do you feel you have choices? Many believe a car is the only option. But for others a car is not affordable. So what are your alternatives? Do you drive, walk or bike? Do you take a train or a bus? Do you use Uber? What would you like your options to be? And how do you choose? By time, cost, convenience, safety or health? Anne Arundel County is embarking on its first Transportation Functional Master Plan, which will guide our choices over the next 20 years. You can help shape its direction. (Capital)

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