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Bill would close ‘tax loophole,’ dedicate ‘recouped revenue’ to Maryland’s HBCUs

As a graduate of Hampton University and Howard University School of Law, I am acutely aware of the quality of education Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) provide and the role they play in the social mobility of many Black residents. In Maryland, we are blessed with four excellent HBCUs, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern-Shore. However, our state’s track record on funding these institutions is spotty, and its history of underfunding is judicially confirmed. Since 2006, advocates for Maryland’s four HBCUs have fought the state of Maryland alleging violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Standardized testing in Maryland schools can wait

Maryland students were slated to take new standardized tests last year — before COVID hit. The tests replace previous assessments, known as PARCC, that were criticized as taking up too much classroom time and as too difficult for students to pass. But, like many other things, the pandemic also disrupted plans for the rollout of the new Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program. With students thrown into the precarious world of virtual learning, the state school system correctly decided that it was no longer the best time to implement new testing. There were other basics to worry about, such as if children had internet to log onto classes. But now Maryland State School Superintendent Karen Salmon, the state school board and the federal education department think students are ready to take at least some of the tests.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Achieving Our Climate Goals With Composting

If Maryland is to achieve its climate goals, we need to source more renewable energy, reduce our energy usage and improve our waste management. One of the easiest and most effective strategies to reduce our waste stream is by removing organics from the system. In other words: support more composting. More and more residents are turning to recycling their fruits, vegetables and other food because these valuable resources should not be disposed of in landfills and in incinerators, but instead should be turned into soil building compost or diverted to food pantries for food insecure residents.

Montgomery should minimize the spread of the coronavirus before it reopens schools

In-person reopening during the coronavirus pandemic has become one of the most consequential battles in Montgomery County. Unfortunately, when teachers and administrators — people who dedicate their lives to working with students — voice their legitimate concerns regarding an incoherent plan, they are portrayed as uncaring, selfish boogeymen, especially if they’re unionized, as is the case in Montgomery County. Alternatively, proponents of prematurely reopening, such as the #OpenMCPS and #TogetherAgainMCPS groups who are calling for reopening without phasing in or meeting health metrics, often cast themselves as the saviors of low-income students and students of color.

white table with black chairs
Baltimore County school board sends $1.74B budget to county executive’s desk

Baltimore County Board of Education passed a $1.74 billion budget plan Tuesday night, sending it to the county executive and council for final consideration. The budget plan for the 2021-22 academic year calls for adding 15 minutes to the school day, providing a 2% cost of living increase for unionized employees and hiring more teachers, counselors, social workers and healthcare providers. If approved, the board’s plan would also reallocate funds —as yet, unidentified — to increase spending per pupil and to create $175,000 for school grants for family engagement.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Older Marylanders are searching frantically for vaccines. Few are finding them.

From his home in Sharpsburg, Maryland, 70-year-old Gary Robinson started making phone calls in search of a COVID-19 vaccine for himself and his wife. In Baltimore, 69-year-old Joel White went to the state’s vaccine website, only to learn he would have to register with individual medical providers to find a shot. All the way in Indiana, Cheri Hampton-Farmer started researching online: how could she locate vaccines for her 86-year-old father and 90-year-old mother living in Hagerstown?

Read More: Delmarva Now
Wes Moore Actively Exploring 2022 Bid for Governor

Wes Moore, the Baltimore born and bred author, anti-poverty advocate and social entrepreneur, is actively contemplating seeking the Democratic nomination for governor in 2022. Moore earlier this month announced his intention to leave his job as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit with a broad portfolio, sometime this spring ― but did not say what he planned to do next. In a statement provided to Maryland Matters Tuesday evening, Moore said he was “seriously considering” a gubernatorial run.

Bills aim to limit implicit bias in Maryland judicial system

Maryland legislators introduced a pair of bills that could mandate police, judges, state’s attorneys and public defenders undergo implicit bias training in order to recognize and counteract any potential biases they may carry against specific groups. Implicit bias is the attitudes, or stereotypes that may unconsciously affect someone’s actions and decisions toward a person or group of people.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Delegates Push to Repeal State Song, With its References to ‘Northern Scum’

Maryland Speaker Pro Tem Sheree Sample-Hughes grew up singing in the American Legion junior girls auxiliary. She used to sing the state’s song, “Maryland, My Maryland,” at events throughout the state. “Now I have a greater appreciation for what the lyrics truly mean,” Sample-Hughes (D-Lower Shore), told her colleagues Wednesday as she pressed for the song’s repeal as a state symbol. The song, which was composed during the Civil War by a Confederate sympathizer, James Ryder Randall, has enjoyed its status as a state symbol since 1939.

Maryland adds 862 coronavirus cases, 27 COVID-19 deaths

Maryland health officials reported 862 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, as well as 27 fatalities associated with the disease. The daily tallies bring the state to 378,490 and 7,607 total COVID-19 cases and deaths, respectively, since officials began tracking the disease in March. Maryland confirmed its first cases March 5.

Read More: Baltimore Sun

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