Gamble, Fidler, Wilcox: Businesses invest in education

Business leaders are investing in education in Baltimore, and not just out of charity or to "give back." While both are worthy purposes, our business leaders recognize the bottom line value in a growing and diverse Baltimore economy. Investment in education will make that a reality. Various levels of government are reciprocating, and the legislative session and upcoming gubernatorial race offer a perfect time to take that work to the next level. (Balt. Sun)

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Be part of budget process

Unless there is an issue that motivates them, most residents don’t pay much attention to the annual budget processes that unfold in municipalities across Carroll and at the county level each year, but keeping track of how officials are spending our tax dollars, what their priorities are, how they are planning for long-range costs and whether there are areas where savings could be realized are all things that make it important for people to be a part of the process from beginning to end. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Melani McAlister: Maryland bills would stifle academic freedom

Bills before the Maryland Senate and House would prevent the use of public college and university funds to support scholarly involvement in academic organizations that have voted to boycott Israel. The legislation is a serious threat to academic freedom, and it should be withdrawn from consideration. If there is a vote, the state's legislators should take a strong stance against this attempt to shut down open discussion of U.S. policy toward the Middle East. (Balt. Sun)

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Feb. 12 // Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: Though challenges remain, there is much to celebrate in Baltimore

Baltimore still has a lot of work to do, but our city has much more for which to be grateful. The State of the City address is an opportunity to update citizens on what government is doing to confront our most immediate challenges, but also to take stock of our progress in tackling systemic problems that have been around for decades. (Balt. Sun)

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Digital classrooms

Baltimore County schools are set to move ahead with a five-year, $150 million plan to put a laptop or tablet computer in the hands of every student, even though the effectiveness of such devices as learning tools is far from proven. School officials say they need to keep up with technology that allows students to become "24/7 learners" who can compete successfully in the 21st-century global marketplace. Yet the experience of school systems elsewhere suggests the initiative is also fraught with risk and uncertainty, and we wonder whether it's wise for county officials to rush into such an expensive project. (Balt. Sun)

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Paul Pinsky: Maryland cedes millions in corporate taxes

Maryland has long been considered among the bluest of blue states, firmly in the Democratic camp. Its recent progressive record on social justice has only further burnished that reputation: passing the Dream Act to allow in-state college tuition — and college affordability — for young immigrants, marriage equality, abolition of the death penalty and legislation to restrict gun violence. (Balt. Sun)

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Rick Hutzell: McMillan grows as a pragmatist

If you weren’t in the State House on Monday, you missed Del. Herb McMillan’s speech memorializing Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. McMillan didn’t show up in a beard and top hat as John Leopold once did, but he did come in the garb of a one-time Naval Academy history major. About midway into his speech, however, McMillan revealed a hopeful view of himself and the Republican Party in Maryland. That’s because Lincoln was not just the Great Emancipator or the architect of our modern concepts of liberty and equality, but a Republican who rose from political obscurity to greatness. (Capital)

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Living with a flawed health exchange

The first hearing of a new General Assembly oversight committee for Maryland's health insurance exchange made clear just how badly dysfunctional it remains four months after its botched launch. Despite millions in additional costs — some of which will be covered under existing, fixed-price contracts, and some of which won't — the software at the core of Maryland's exchange website remains deeply flawed and continues to require extensive manual work-arounds that frustrate consumers and slow the pace of enrollment. The situation presents two questions: What should the state do now, in the period before open enrollment ends on March 31, and what should it do between then and the start of the next open enrollment period in November? (Balt. Sun) 

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