State Roundup, September 15, 2016

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ACHIEVEMENT GAP PERSISTS: In an op-ed for the Sun, Jenese Jones writes that as a veteran educator she has had the opportunity to see the public education system from nearly every vantage point. “I have always prioritized monitoring my students’ outcomes through several lenses, including statewide assessments. Last month, as the new deputy director of MarylandCAN, I was excited to take my first crack at collecting and analyzing Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career data for my home state. … As I sifted through the website that houses PARCC data, I felt my heart and stomach begin to sink.”

ACA SLOWS GROWTH OF INSURANCE COSTS: A trio of recent reports show that the Affordable Care Act has slowed the growth of health insurance costs, expanded insurance coverage and helped keep patients from needing to use the hospital, Daniel Leaderman of the Daily Record reports. From 2000 to 2010, premiums for Maryland families with employer coverage grew an average of 6.7% per year; in the five years the followed, premiums grew an average of 5.2% per year. In Maryland, that slowdown saved families about $1,300 in 2015, according to HHS.

NEW MdTA BOARD MEMBER: Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed financial planner Katherine Bays Armstrong of Howard County to serve as the newest board member of the Maryland Transportation Authority. Armstrong was appointed Sept. 1, reports the Daily Record.

***Assessment Administrators: Seeking motivated individuals to proctor assessment sessions with 4th- and 8th-grade students in schools for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Must be available to work January 30 –March 10, 2017. Paid training, paid time and mileage reimbursement for local driving, and weekly paychecks. This is a part-time, temporary position. To apply, visit our website at www.westat.com/CAREERS and select “Search Field Positions.” Search for your state, find the NAEP Assessment Administrator position, and select the “apply to job” button. For more information email NAEPrecruit@westat.com or call 1-888-237-8036. WESTAT EOE***

LAZARICK ON COLUMBIA: Len Lazarick will speaking about his series of essays, Columbia at 50: A Memoir of a City, at the Vantage House retirement community in Columbia today, Thursday evening, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at 5400 Vantage Point Road. The public is welcome.

hogan-hoeberHOGAN BACKS HOEBER: Gov. Larry Hogan endorsed Republican Amie Hoeber’s bid to unseat U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) on Wednesday, citing her business background and likening her underdog campaign to his 2014 battle against the then-lieutenant governor, Anthony Brown, reports Ovetta Wiggins in the Post. “A lot of people wrote me off when I was running and said that we didn’t have a chance, and I proved them wrong,” the Republican governor said. “And I think she has the ability to do the exact same thing.”

PLASTER RUNS AGAINST SARBANES: Karen Hosler of WYPR-FM reports on Mark Plaster, who is running against U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes in the House race. He’s got a great record, Hosler says, but his biggest challenge will be Sarbanes’ gerrymandered 3rd District.

SENATE HOPEFULS OK TWO ON-AIR DEBATES: The two major party candidates running for Maryland’s open Senate seat agreed Wednesday to two broadcast debates and a handful of forums after a contentious negotiation that broke down late last month, John Fritze of the Sun writes.

DIGITAL DIVIDE IN RURAL MD: Rural areas in less populated Maryland counties have significantly less access to high speed internet than people in more populated parts of the state, preventing them from fully participating in an increasingly connected world, reports CNS’s Julia Lee for MarylandReporter.com. For example, two-thirds of people in Somerset County on the Eastern Shore lack access to a connection with download speeds greater than 25 megabytes per second, compared with less than 1% in Howard County, according to FCC data.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE WEDDING: Gov. Larry Hogan’s daughter, Julie Kim, will get married at the governor’s mansion this weekend. The 150-guest affair on Saturday afternoon will be the first wedding at Government House in 14 years, writes Erin Cox in the Sun. Julie Kim, 30, met her fiance, Taesoo Kim, 31, while both were traveling in Japan. Both are graduates of the University of Michigan, Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer said. The couple shares a common Korean surname.

HAYDEN BECOMES LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS: Carla Hayden, a career librarian who grew up in Chicago and kept Baltimore’s libraries open during last year’s civic unrest, was sworn in Wednesday as the 14th Librarian of Congress, becoming the first woman and the first African-American to lead the national library, Ben Nuckols reports for the Post.

MO CO HOLDS TERM LIMIT DEBATE: Term limits on local politicians would help fight property, transfer and energy tax increases, and help bring fresh ideas to the Montgomery County Council, lawyer and local activist Robin Ficker said Tuesday night. “If you’re not going to get it done in 12 years, you’re not going to get it done,” Ficker said. Former Rockville city councilman Tom Moore, who is leading a legal challenge of Ficker’s term limits ballot question, countered Ficker was presenting good arguments for not voting for the incumbents, not changing the system, Doug Tallman reports in Bethesda Beat.

B’MORE TEMP SOLUTION TO REBEL MONUMENTS: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced a “short-term” solution Wednesday to dealing with Baltimore’s Confederate monuments: installing “interpretive signage” to add historical context while she considers what to do next, Yvonne Wenger and Luke Broadwater report in the Sun. The move gives her less than three months before she leaves office to decide what to do with the four monuments that stand on city property.

CARROLL’S TITLE IX PROGRESS: Emily Chappell of the Carroll County Times writes that after a summer of meetings, the Carroll County Public Schools system continues to move forward with updating Title IX-related policies. Board of Education members agreed in a meeting Wednesday night to accept a county committee’s recommendations for policy updates dealing with bullying, harassment, intimidation, discrimination or hazing; equal opportunity and nondiscrimination; sexual harassment; and student dress code.