Downtown Columbia on the shores of Lake Kittamaqundi at 11 a.m. July 2, 2016. Photo by Len Lazarick

Columbia at 50 Part 7: HEALTH CARE: Planning for a healthy community — an innovative HMO, a hospital fight and the quest for wellness

Health care was another key element the original Columbia planners focused on in their 1964 work sessions. Unlike the schools, land use, water, sewer and political structure, for which the Rouse Co. planners eventually would turn to government institutions that already existed in Howard County, they would need to look beyond its borders for help. The opening of the Columbia Hospital and Clinics in 1973, would be one of the most controversial aspects of Columbia’s early years. Its creation was fraught with community tension, political discord and hostility among competing groups, creating ill-will outside of Columbia that would last for decades.

Poll finds support for increased school aid and higher taxes to support it

New polling results funded by the state teachers union finds broad bipartisan support for increased funding for public education, even if it means “closing corporate loopholes and raising income taxes on the state’s highest earners.” The poll taken late last month by Gonzales Research was part of the same survey that found 74% approval ratings for the job Gov. Larry Hogan is doing. But the results of the questions on education would seem to put the same voters at odds with Hogan’s strong opposition to new taxes and strong support of increased funding for private school scholarships.

As usual on opening day of the legislative session, House Speaker Michael Busch and Gov. Larry Hogan were all smiles at the House of Delegates rostrum. Governor's Office photo

Hogan, not Busch, should be grateful to federal prosecutors

House Speaker Michael Busch on Tuesday thanked the U.S. attorney and the FBI “for their due diligence in completing this investigation” into Prince George’s County corruption that may put as many as three former and current delegates in prison. Actually the investigation is not be completed at all. But the person who should be really grateful to the feds for their probe and the awkward timing of their announcement is Gov. Larry Hogan.

The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education met Monday in the House Appropriation Committee room. MarylandReporter.com photo

Teaching profession is less attractive in U.S., Maryland, than in other countries, commission is told

Compared to teachers in countries with the best performing students, U.S. teachers are less well compensated, have less support to prepare for teaching, have less time for planning and collaboration, and overall have less autonomy in the classroom, a state commission was told Monday. American teachers also spend the most instructional hours in the classroom with larger average class size compared to dozens of the most developed countries.

Hogan Manny Machado

Hogan riding high with 74% approval; Trump in the dumps

Gov. Larry Hogan is still riding high among Maryland voters, with the latest poll showing his job approval rating at 74%; even two-thirds of Democrats say the Republican governor is doing a good job. The Gonzales Research poll released Thursday is the fifth public opinion survey in the last four months that has found seven out of 10 voters or more approving the job Hogan is doing as governor.

Downtown Columbia on the shores of Lake Kittamaqundi at 11 a.m. July 2, 2016. Photo by Len Lazarick

Part 6 Columbia at 50 EDUCATION: Schools Were Crucial Then and Now

Part 6 in this series of 12 essays leading to Columbia’s 50th birthday next June examines the planning and transformation of a small, rural, recently desegregated school system with middling rankings to one of the best school systems in the country. Howard County now has 76 schools with 54,000 children and 4,100 teachers, and they face the challenges of diversity, particularly in its urban core of Columbia.

Knight Foundation will match gifts to MarylandReporter.com

MarylandReporter.com is one of 57 nonprofit news organizations from around the country that will receive matching grants for any donations received over the next month until Jan. 19. Any donation of any size up to $1,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Knight Foundation, a major funder of nonprofit journalism.

Billions more in school aid sought, but commissioners question results

Consultants are recommending that Maryland spend $2.9 billion more on public schools each year, a 29% overall increase. The state share would increase by $1.9 billion and the counties would pick up the rest, with some big winners and Montgomery County the biggest loser in the reallocation of school dollars. The commission that will actually make recommendations to the legislature next year about school funding got its first bite at a thick consulting report justifying the increased spending on Thursday, with members questioning the two-year study and its approach.