Open Source textbooks could save students a bundle

As the cost of college has skyrocketed, students and parents could soon get relief on expensive textbooks under the Textbook Cost Savings Act of 2017 that would provide funding to develop free open source learning materials.“The state is moving rapidly towards free textbooks online,” said the bill’s sponso rSen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s, in an interview. “If the bill passes it will be state policy that we want to move in that direction as much as possible.”

Financial aid officers oppose new requirements to help students manage loans

Financial aid officers across the state oppose two proposals that would require state funded colleges and universities to generate an annual “loan letter” to students that spells out their loan obligations and help them manage their finances better. The letter would be required to include payoff amounts, cost of borrowing and monthly payments – even for loans obtained at other schools.

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.

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.

Comptroller’s office: Rascovar column ‘misleading and uninformed’

Comptroller’s chief of staff respond to Rascovar: “Having read your most recent column in MarylandReporter.com – “Maryland’s demeaning ‘Begathon” continues,” a politically-lubricated jeremiad against the Maryland public school construction program’s longstanding appeals process – I feel obliged to respectfully rebut several of your more misleading and uninformed points.”

Rascovar: Maryland’s demeaning ‘Begathon’ continues

Here we go again. In a few weeks, school superintendents will trek, en masse, to the second floor of the Maryland State House to grovel before the Board of Public Works for additional school construction funds. It is a demeaning “begathon” that long ago outlived its usefulness and turned into a political circus allowing the governor and comptroller to praise and reward their friends in the counties and humiliate their enemies.

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. Links to all parts of the series published so far are at the bottom.

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.