State Roundup: School issues abound: degree duplication; state super’s contract; gender-affirming care and book removals in public schools

State Roundup: School issues abound: degree duplication; state super’s contract; gender-affirming care and book removals in public schools file photo.

LEGISLATIVE WORKGROUP TACKLES DEGREE DUPLICATION CONTROVERSY: A legislative workgroup tasked with recommending changes to the degree approval process at Maryland’s colleges and universities started work this week, as the Maryland Higher Education Commission awaits legal advice on its most recent controversial decision. The workgroup will have to find a delicate balance between meeting students’ needs and resolving longstanding concerns about program duplication among Maryland’s formerly segregated colleges, said Sen. Ron Watson (D-Prince George’s). Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.

STATE SCHOOL BOARD TO VOTE NEXT WEEK ON CHOUDHURY CONTRACT: As transparency and leadership problems mount at the Maryland State Department of Education, the state school board must soon vote on who will lead the troubled department into the future. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the state Board of Education is to meet to discuss who will head the MSDE for the next four years. Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury’s contract expires in June 2024. If Choudhury gets a new contract, it must be finalized by the end of September. State leaders, including Gov. Wes Moore, have yet to weigh in on the issue publicly. Though, earlier this year, Moore did voice concerns. Chris Papst/WBFF-Fox News.

WICOMICO COURT GREENLIGHTS COUNTY EXEC LAWSUIT: The Wicomico County Circuit Court officially decided that the lawsuit filed by County Executive Julie Giordano against the Wicomico County Council can move forward and be heard. Giordano filed the suit last Wednesday stemming from two appointments that were rejected by the County Council. The lawsuit requests the council approve a special counsel as well as the funds to pay for it to address the disagreement on the county charter. Kristian Jaime/The Salisbury Daily Times.

JUDGES TOSS CHALLENGE TO SCHOOL SYSTEM’S GENDER-CARE PROGRAM: A federal appeals court threw out a Maryland case challenging guidelines that allow schools in Montgomery County to create support plans for transgender or gender-nonconforming students and do not require the knowledge or consent of the students’ parents. The court said the parents in the case lacked standing and sent it back to district court to be dismissed. Donna St. George and Nicole Asbury/The Washington Post.

BILL WOULD RESEARCH SAFER PPE FOR FIREFIGHTERS: U.S. Rep. Glenn Ivey of Maryland and seven other representatives co-sponsored the bipartisan PFAS Alternatives Act aimed at supporting the development, research and testing of PFAS-free PPE for firefighters while improving protection from exposure to fire particles, side effects of combustion and visible warning gauges to alert firefighters about exposures to hazardous materials. Tashi McQueen/The Afro.

CARROLL SCHOOLS REVIEW BOOKS FOR REMOVAL: Carroll County Public Schools officials are in the process of reviewing requests for the removal of books from public school library shelves. As of last week, the total number of books requested for removal is 53. No final decisions have been made, but five titles are in the final stages of reconsideration. The conservative group Carroll County Moms for Liberty said it had made the removal requests. Thomas Goodwin Smith/The Carroll County Times.

***Learn about China Today: Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick will again be offering a six-session seminar on China Today and how it got that way at Howard Community College. Lazarick began his involvement with China and its journalists 30 years ago and teaches East Asian history at the college. Click here to learn more and register for the course.***

B’MORE POLICE SELF-REPORT ON MASS SHOOTING DELAYED A MONTH: The Baltimore Police Department’s “after-action report” on the Brooklyn Homes mass shooting – promised to be completed by Aug. 15 – has been delayed until mid-September. The pushed-back date means a month-long wait before the public gets to see any detailed accounting of what Baltimore police knew – and how the agency responded to warnings that an annual block party was spiraling out of control Mark Reutter/The Baltimore Brew.

OPINION: OFFICIALS HAVEN’T DONE ENOUGH AFTER MASS SHOOTING: What has Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Gov. Wes Moore done to make city residents safer since the mass shooting on July 2 at a South Baltimore block party that killed two and wounded 28? Not enough. But there are actions that both can take, starting with forthrightly stating their intention to beef up the police to pre-pandemic numbers as well as emphasize their support for the men and women in blue. Richard Vatz/The Baltimore Post Examiner.

ACTION ON MO CO SCHOOL HARASSMENT CLAIMS: Montgomery County Public Schools has tapped the Baltimore offices of the law firm of Jackson Lewis to conduct an independent investigation of sexual harassment allegations against a 12-year MCPS veteran principal and the district’s handling of the claims. Em Espey and Ginny Bixby/MoCo 360.

  • The investigation will move “with precision and speed,” the system said, “so that MCPS can implement appropriate action(s). Our community will learn a significant amount of detail over the next few days and weeks.” Nicole Asbury and Alexandra Robbins/The Washington Post.
  • After at least 18 allegations of sexual harassment against Principal Joel Beidleman came to light via a Washington Post investigation Friday, several elected officials are calling for transparency and accountability from Montgomery County Public Schools. Em Espey/MoCo 360.

JON GALLO, 47, HARD-DRIVING SPORTS EDITOR: I first met Jon Gallo when I interviewed him for the sports editor position at the Baltimore Examiner in 2006. I was the managing editor at the paper and I needed a hard-driving journalist who could develop young reporters and bring creativity to a sports department that had to be changed with ESPN reporting scores before a newspaper could even hit the streets. We didn’t need the legacy ways of covering games. We needed something different. Tim Maier/The Baltimore Post-Examiner.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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