Richard Striner: Common Core must be stopped now

I’m a parent and an educator — I live in Pasadena and I teach at a liberal arts college — and I urge all Maryland parents, teachers and members of the General Assembly to overturn the Common Core standards — the lock-step routine that was hastily and recklessly foisted on our public schools. The standards were formulated behind closed doors in Washington, with some powerful backing by a number of big corporations — or by “foundations” aligned with those very same corporations — that create the standardized tests that will be used in enforcing the standards. (Capital)

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Brian P. Sears: Move to take pension payments a familiar story

When legislators last week decided to withhold hundreds of millions in extra payments meant to bolster the state employees’ pension system, it reflected a familiar political reality. State revenue was down. Money was needed now. There would be little political backlash to dipping into money promised for pensions years from now. The decision last week by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is the latest in a series of moves over the last three years in which elected leaders took steps to shore up the underfinanced system, only to step back again. (Daily Record)

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Alain Leray: SNCF, Holocaust legislation is discriminatory

Perhaps the darkest episode in human history, the Holocaust has been at the center of Jewish and world consciousness for over six decades. In the spring of 1940, France was invaded and occupied by Nazi troops. Both my parents and grandparents, who were living in Paris at the time, fled into hiding to survive. During this time, SNCF, the company operating the French railroad system, and the parent company of my current employer, SNCF America, was placed under Nazi command according to Article 13 of the French-German Armistice agreement of June 1940. Thus, Senior Nazi Colonel Werner Goeritz took command of SNCF's operations and facilities. Nazi laws of war were applied, and even the slightest resistance was punishable by death. (Balt. Sun)

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Obama: the anti-interventionist

The weakest part of Barack Obama's resume was always national defense. His was the life of a community organizer with stops at Harvard Law, a private law firm, the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Senate. The typical issues followed suit: community development, housing, civil rights. Defense issues were never on the radar, with the possible exception of a relationship with anti-war bombers Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. (Balt. Sun)

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Todd Eberly: In District Maryland's 29B, Voters Need to Re-Elect John Bohanan

I have never formally endorsed a candidate in any election - until now. I have decided to weigh in on the race for District 29B in St. Mary's county - my county. In recent editions of the Enterprise and the County Times (our local papers) several members of my community have written letters urging voters to “kick Del. John Bohanan to the curb” in November - a distinct possibility given the changing political composition of the county. The letter writers typically cherry pick one or two votes, out of the thousands that Bohanan has cast, and present them as proof that he does not represent the views of St. Mary’s county voters. The most commonly cited examples are his votes to legalize same sex marriage and his vote to approve the recent increase in the gas tax. (FreeStater)

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March 7 // Minimum-wage double standard

A House of Delegates committee voted swiftly on increasing the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 this week, and in doing so proved just how much lip service Annapolis lawmakers are willing to pay to their core beliefs. While the rest of the state’s businesses and companies, large and small, will be forced to offer increases to their lowest-paid workers, representatives of the Six Flags amusement park in Upper Marlboro somehow managed to persuade the committee to exempt it. Smaller operations, such as Adventure Park USA near New Market, will just have to hold their noses and swallow. (News-Post)

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Don Rowe: Increase needed for support staff

As Maryland prepares to debate raising the minimum wage, I want to lift up a group of people that we can’t leave behind: direct support staff that care for our citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. SB 890 and HB 1266 would ensure that agencies that provide services to people with disabilities would be able to adequately compensate our valuable direct support staff. If and when the minimum wage is passed, and if an increase in the rate paid to providers like The Arc Carroll County is not included, the consequences could be dire. We already suffer from rapid turnover and vacancies. Is this what we want for our most vulnerable citizens? (Carr. Co. Times)

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Lizz Barrett: Community rallies for homeless students

Armed with the numbers and my own and others’ experiences with the Frederick County Homeless Students Initiative, I intended to respond to the recent assertion that there are no homeless children in Frederick County. For me, frustrated was an understatement. The fact is that there is an unacceptable -- and unbearable -- amount of poverty and homelessness in our county. But something far more important and interesting than anger and hand-wringing has emerged in recent weeks. So, this letter is not about statistics, or even the very real families and children who comprise the numbers. It is about the ways our community is leading this conversation -- and other equally important conversations -- toward action. (News-Post)

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