State Roundup: Changes to filling legislative vacancies possible; after years of declining reading scores, phonics makes a comeback; Naval Academy sued over admissions practice

State Roundup: Changes to filling legislative vacancies possible; after years of declining reading scores, phonics makes a comeback; Naval Academy sued over admissions practice

After years of declining reading scores, Maryland is returning to phonics, now known as the science of reading. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

CHANGES TO FILLING LEGISLATIVE VACANCIES POSSIBLE: Senate President Bill Ferguson on Monday predicted that the General Assembly would give serious consideration next year to bills changing the way legislative vacancies are filled in Maryland, saying he is uncomfortable with the power local party central committees possess over vacancies in the House and Senate. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

PHONICS MAKES COMEBACK IN SCHOOLS AFTER DECLINING READING SCORES: Phonics, along with a curriculum that will teach comprehension, vocabulary and knowledge of the world is returning to Maryland. The method is now called the science of reading, and has prompted a nationwide reckoning about how reading is taught. That movement is backed by brain science, and Maryland educators are waking up to the fact that reading achievement has plummeted in the past decade. Kristen Griffith and Liz Bowie/The Baltimore Banner.

NAVAL ACADEMY SUED OVER ADMISSION PRACTICES: The U.S. Naval Academy is being accused of discriminatory admissions practices by an activist organization whose previous litigation against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina led to the U.S. Supreme Court deeming affirmative action policies unconstitutional. Caitlyn Freeman, Emily Opilo and Dana Munro/The Baltimore Sun.

COLUMN: HUCKABEE SANDERS’ EMAIL AND THE ACADEMY ADMISSION SUIT: I ended up on an email chain last week with Sarah Huckabee Sanders — the Republican governor of Arkansas, former Trump White House gladiator and a darling of the hard right. I’m not surprised to learn that we disagree over the state of America. But the email convinced me that we most likely don’t agree on a lawsuit challenging Naval Academy admission policies that use race as a factor to balance its overwhelmingly white student body. Rick Hutzell/The Baltimore Banner.

BALTIMORE COUNTY CONSIDERS ENLARGING COUNCIL: Baltimore County, the third largest jurisdiction in the state, may soon explore adding more elected members to its seven-member County Council. The proposal calls for a 15-person committee to examine the council and make recommendations for any appropriate changes to the elected body. Amy Simpson/WBFF-TV News.

KENNEDY SIBLINGS DENOUNCE BROTHER’s PRESIDENTIAL BID: Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, joined by three of her siblings, on Monday denounced their brother Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent bid for president, calling his candidacy “perilous for our country.” Marcus Dieterle/Baltimore Fishbowl.

GROUP TO PROTEST BA CO SCHOOLS TRANSGENDER POLICIES: A parents group called P.A.S.S. – Parental Alliance for Safer Schools in Baltimore County – is planning to protest the Baltimore County school system’s policies for transgender students outside the county school board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday night. Aliza Worthington/Baltimore Fishbowl.

POLL: QUARTER OF B’MORE VOTERS WANT NEITHER SCOTT NOR DIXON: Roughly 30% of respondents to the Goucher College Poll haven’t made up their mind or want another choice from the current field competing for Baltimore City mayor. When pressed, some of those respondents said they just won’t vote for either of the two leading candidates, Mayor Brandon Scott and former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Another 23% prefer “some other candidate.” Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner.

SPEECHWRITER RECALLS WORKING WITH PRES JIMMY CARTER: Dr. Robert Maddox, 86, of Bethesda, worked as President Jimmy Carter’s speechwriter and special assistant for religious outreach during his presidency. As the 39th president celebrated his  99th birthday on Oct. 1, Maddox honored him in a presentation, sharing his fond memories of working with him. Courtney Cohn/MoCo 360.

ROCKVILLE CANDIDATES WEIGH IN ON VOTING BALLOT ISSUES: Rockville’s mayoral and City Council candidates shared their positions on lowering the voting age to 16, allowing non-citizens to vote in city elections, establishing term limits and voting districts at a forum last week. All four are referendum advisory questions on the ballot this year. Elia Griffin/MoCo 360.

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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