New Report on Use of High-Quality Materials in Classrooms

Independent curriculum reviewers are being used as a resource in order to evaluate how well materials align to standards (highly rated curricula) so districts are able to make informed purchasing decisions. A recently published RAND Corporation Analysis shows that math teachers are more likely to be using highly rated curricula than English/Language Arts (ELA) teachers. From Education Week Teacher's blog: Researchers gave a list of materials to a nationally representative sample of K-12 public school…

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State To Hold Counties Harmless for School Construction Funding

After careful consideration, the Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC) will hold counties harmless for school construction funding during FY 2021 and FY 2022. Last year, the authority to grant funding for public school construction projects switched from the Board of Public Works (made up of the Governor, Comptroller, and Treasurer) to the IAC through the 21st Century School Facilities Act, which passed through the Maryland General Assembly in 2018. During the IAC’s September 12 meeting,…

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State to Release Study on Truck Parking

Across the nation, truck parking is becoming a major concern for transportation agencies due to shortages and unsafe locations. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) commissioned a truck parking study in March 2019. MDOT's statement on expected outcomes for the Study: The Maryland Statewide Truck Parking Study will develop actionable insights into truck parking issues in Maryland by identifying the location of truck parking issues, matching solutions to truck parking issues, and prioritizing truck parking solutions.…

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How Will Kirwan Affect Maryland’s Shortage of Educators

Enrollment is growing and Maryland school systems are finding difficulty retaining and recruiting teachers. As the Kirwan Commission discusses recommendations for education policy changes, some Maryland counties are proactively recruiting qualified educators from around the country. The Baltimore Sun reports that counties including Baltimore County, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore City will be hiring more teachers in order to meet the needs of growing enrollment. From coverage in The Baltimore Sun: “Teacher shortages…

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School Construction Workgroup Considers Deficiency Scores Weighting and Calculations

Complicated weighting formula is dissected and discussed at the meeting of the Work Group on the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities. Yesterday, members of the Work Group of the Assessment and Funding of School Facilities, a group created by the General Assembly's 2018 21st Century School Facilities Act, met to continue conversations on assessing and funding school facilities in Maryland. Robert Gorrell, the Executive Director of the Interagency Commission on School Construction, led Work…

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MdTA Releases Bay Crossing Choices, Will Hold “Open Houses”

  Three preliminary corridor alternatives as well as no-build alternative are being retained for open houses in September and October. According to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), there are only three corridor alternatives that meet the purpose and need in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The purpose of the Bay Crossing Study is to consider alternatives for expanding access and traffic capacity across the Chesapeake Bay. The study is considering financial viability and…

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Dover Bridge Nominated for 2019 America’s Transportation Award

Completed a full year ahead of schedule, the bridge from southern Caroline County and northern Dorchester County to Talbot County has been selected as one of 12 finalists for the 2019 America’s Transportation Award hosted by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO). From coverage on the Daily Times website: “The Dover Bridge project exemplifies our commitment to delivering the best possible customer experience across the state during all stages of project…

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Public Unions After Janus v. AFSCME: What’s Happening Around the U.S.?

In June of 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public employees have a constitutional right to quit their union and stop paying dues in the Janus v. AFSCME decision. As National Employee Freedom Week is being celebrated this week, The Hill published an opinion piece on the ramifications of this legislative override and what is happening around the county. What is happening around the United States? New Jersey: The legislature passed the Workplace…

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Deadly or Delicious? Food Safety and Legislation

The 2019 Legislative Session saw the passage and consideration of several bills aimed at changing food safety requirements. Food safety is critical to community health and is a cornerstone of local health departments. Improperly prepared food and unsafe practices have had fatal consequences for Maryland residents. Moderated by The Honorable Senator Paul Pinsky, panelists went over the state’s ban on polystyrene food containers, changes to cottage food products, and potential restrictions on plastic straws. Panelists…

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Access to MAT: What Does it Mean for Maryland Counties?

With legislation recently passed by the Maryland General Assembly, providing inmates with access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for substance use disorders is a hot topic. HB 116, sponsored by Delegate Erek Barron, requires all county jails and the Baltimore City Detention Center to provide their inmates with access to the full range of MAT (e.g. buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone) within the next few years. Weber went through the implementation of MAT, including the screen process for…

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