James Burdick: Delay in ACA's employer mandate nothing to celebrate

The glee with which Republicans greeted the delay in the employer coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act is heartless. Although it is politically motivated, such reveling will prove to be a political obstacle to Republican election chances in 2014. President Barack Obama's health care law is not going away. A groundswell of public opinion will welcome the reforms now under way to help correct the fundamental inequities in America's health care system. (Balt. Sun)

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William Noack: Diesel's day has arrived

One hundred and twenty years ago this summer — in 1893 — Rudolf Diesel fired up a single-cylinder engine attached to a flywheel. The contraption was fueled by peanut oil. He must have been relieved as the engine sputtered to life because Diesel had worked for years on a new idea: that higher levels of compression within the engine could ignite the fuel, thus replacing the spark required by conventional internal combustion engines. (Balt. Sun)

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Improving school security

Frederick County is not unique in its emphasis on protecting students from outside-the-classroom threats. School systems around the country are investing millions trying to prevent another school shooting like the one that took the lives of 20 students and six adults at those shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. (News-Post)

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August 22 // AP classes: a glass half-full

It's really no surprise that top students at Maryland's highest-performing high schools are passing the Advanced Placement exams at rates far higher than their peers in the state's lower-performing schools. The test results reflect not just how much students have learned over the previous year in an AP class but how well their entire school experience has prepared them for college-level work. That's why raising AP pass rates across the board isn't just a matter of better facilities or teaching methods in a handful of advanced high school courses. Boosting the success rates for students in every school district will require a commitment to improving the quality of instruction at every level throughout a student's academic career, starting from the earliest years. (Balt. Sun)

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‘Saving summer’ at the expense of students’ learning

The costs of a later start to the school year greatly outweigh the benefits. This is 2013, not 1953, and there is no question that summer vacation, as “un-American” as it may be to curtail, contributes to the achievement gap between low-income students and their middle-class and affluent peers. Lower-income students already start school behind and most students typically lose about one month’s equivalent of learning each summer, no matter where they sit on the socioeconomic spectrum. That adds up over the years, and teachers eventually have no means of closing that gap during the academic year. (Wash. Post)

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Set higher bar for education

While schools across the nation continue to improve the quality of education offered to students, one nonprofit organization that assesses achievement notes that many students who graduate are not ready for college-level courses. In a report released Wednesday, about three-quarters of the students who took the ACT tests failed to achieve the skill level needed in reading, math, English and science, according to an analysis of the results by the Associated Press. (Carr. Co. Times)

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Rodricks: Waiting for Baltimore to finally reach the tipping point

Baltimore is your unpredictable uncle in a bathrobe — sweet one minute, grouchy the next; as kind as an old friar today, as menacing as a hit man tomorrow. This town will baffle you. It is sane and insane, charming and ugly, cosmopolitan and puny, brilliant and middling, future thinking and stuck in its ways. Maybe every city is like this, particularly those with lingering violent crime. Every city with lingering violent crime probably has an old-school bakery or a revered deli where you can still get amazing smoked herring. You can always find something good to say about places with homicidal tendencies, and the travel writers do that with Baltimore all the time. (Balt. Sun)

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Sherrilyn A. Ifill: Why we still march

Constance Baker Motley, the great civil rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, was not planning to attend the now-famous civil rights March on Washington 50 years ago this month. She was exhausted. As one of Martin Luther King's lawyers during the Birmingham campaign, she had secured his and Ralph Abernathy's release from a squalid, scorching hot jail in Americus, Ga., where both men were detained while traveling to Alabama. Motley was among a cadre of civil rights attorneys who spent a great deal of time in county jails throughout the Deep South helping to release detained civil rights activists. (Balt. Sun)

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