Former MoCo Council aide, now candidate, critical of former bosses

For 11 years, Neil Greenberger sat behind a desk at the Montgomery County Council Office Building in Rockville, talking about county policy and presenting the council’s side of the story as its legislative information officer. Now Greenberger is running for the council himself as an at-large candidate and he’s not pulling any punches when it comes to discussing how he thinks the council needs to shape up. “There’s been too much of telling people what they need and a lot less of listening to what voters want,” Greenberger said.

Wrong on school funding, showing the folly of predictions

Suddenly last week, Chairman Brit Kirwan said the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline established for recommending new school funding formulas. Last year’s prediction of a broad and contentious debate about how to dole out state aid for education this coming session was off by at least a year.

Kirwan Commission won’t finish school funding recommendations this year

The commission charged with revising state school funding formulas will not be able to finish its work by its Dec. 31 deadline, commission chair Brit Kirwan told the panel Wednesday. “It will take more time to do our work completely and accurately,” said Kirwan, the former university system chancellor. The Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is trying to reach consensus on major changes on how the state and local governments should spend the largest single slice of state and local budgets.

First Republican in 2018 MoCo elections earns matching campaign funds

Montgomery County Council District 2 candidate Ed Amatetti is the first Republican among seven approved candidates to earn matching public campaign funds in the 2018 Montgomery County elections. To date, the state election board, which manages the Montgomery County program, has disbursed $850,000 in matching public campaign funds from an $11 million fund appropriated by the council.

Democrats running for governor rarely mention Martin O’Malley

Six Democrats running for governor used Larry Hogan as a reliable punching bag at a Saturday forum, pounding away at the current Republican governor in front of an auditorium filled with progressive Montgomery County Democrats. But prominently mentioned only once during the two-hour face off was the two-term Democrat whom Hogan replaced and whose policies the candidates largely agreed with — Martin O’Malley.

More renewable energy will help the climate, health and economy

Recently, two campaigns have been launched to jumpstart Maryland’s efforts to combat climate change, reduce harmful air pollution and establish Maryland as a national leader in clean, renewable energy. These campaigns share a common goal – a 100% clean energy future.

Kirwan Commission considers large-scale tutoring plan to close proficiency gaps

Maryland has one of the highest household incomes in the U.S., but only 40% of its students met proficiency standards in reading and math on the PARCC assessments in 2017, a Johns Hopkins University researcher told the Kirwin Commission last week. A $1.46 billion plan using one-on-one and small group and tutoring would help close the gap between top performing students and those who struggle to keep up, the researcher said.

Rascovar: ‘Free’ tuition isn’t free

Talk on the far left about “free” college tuition got a boost last week from an acolyte of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the foremost proponent of this marvelous-sounding idea. Benjamin Jealous, former head of the NAACP who is running for governor, told a group of college students and progressive activists, to no one’s surprise, that his gubernatorial pitch includes free education for Marylanders at the state’s public colleges and universities.