COVID learning loss requires strong action now in Maryland

Maryland lawmakers last year decided to make a landmark 10-year commitment to transforming our state’s public schools into world-class centers for learning. The legislation my colleagues and I passed — a law called the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future — rests on the recommendations generated by the blue-ribbon Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, a 26-member panel chaired by former University System of Maryland chancellor Brit Kirwan that represented all the direct stakeholders in our schools, from teachers and students to parents and local school boards. (Balt Sun)

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Congressional redistricting: How do we get a rational map? | COMMENTARY

As Marylanders of a certain age will recall, this state used to have a congressional delegation of mixed political allegiances. Not just Democrats and Republicans, but liberals, moderates and conservatives in either party. Over the last two decades, Democrats in Annapolis have drawn U.S. House of Representatives district lines in such a way that precludes that possibility. (Balt Sun)

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Editorial: Legislative session 2021: Virus or not, there’s important work to be done in Maryland

If there is one certainty facing Maryland’s 188 state lawmakers as they return to Annapolis, it’s the unconventional circumstances of the annual 90-day legislative session: acrylic screens around desks, social distancing, online hearings. Even student pages will be absent. Out are the public rallies and late dinners with lobbyists. In are regular coronavirus tests and abbreviated meetings. What the General Assembly got a taste of last March, when COVID-19 shortened the last session, will be in full flower this time around. (Balt Sun)

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Ignatius: What we can tell from Biden’s administration picks

President Trump is still hogging the stage in his final days, with his seditious lies and rants, but it’s time to turn our attention to the new administration that will take power in just a week. What kind of team has President-elect Joe Biden assembled, and how does he plan to address the severe crises facing America? Biden is a reassuringly straightforward man, but his mandate is complicated. His presidency will be about restoring order and normalcy after the manic binge of the Trump years, capped by an open insurrection. (Wash Post)

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Sen. Washington & Del. Jazz Lewis: Time to End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco in Maryland

The story of inequity and inequality is not a new one in our state’s history, and the COVID 19 pandemic has brought to the forefront several long standing issues that have historically plagued minority communities. One such issue is the predatory and targeted efforts of the Big Tobacco industry to hook Black and Brown communities, particularly our youth, to flavored tobacco products. Worse still, we know tobacco use increases the risk of contracting COVID 19, making this product and our pandemic even more deadly for the communities Big Tobacco targets. (Md Matters)

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Editorial: Maryland’s easiest call: Spike the state song

As members of the Maryland General Assembly return to Annapolis for the 442nd session, they face many challenging tasks involving the future of K-12 public education, the COVID-19 pandemic and balancing a state budget beset by an economic downturn — just to name a few. Experts will be consulted, amendments drafted, midnight oil burned and opposing views debated, often heatedly. But once in a while, an issue presents itself that seems so serious and distressing yet the solution so apparent and easily accomplished that one wonders if lawmakers should not be slightly embarrassed by the ease of their task. (Balt Sun)

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Rodricks: Lyric letter suggests the Modell family name will be removed from the Baltimore theater if family doesn’t pay to keep it there

If you walk by a building and see a person’s name on it, what do you think? I think two things: Either that person gave a major donation to the institution housed within the building or the institution named the building to honor a person who had devoted great effort to its mission. I’m not referring to corporate names. There’s a significant distinction between a family name — Pearlstone, as in the Pearlstone Theater at Center Stage — and, say, M&T Bank Stadium. (Balt Sun)

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Editorial: Republicans want reconciliation. Here’s what they need to do first.

A week after the shocking Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol by an angry mob, Republicans are suddenly calling for unity. “We must work together to lower the temperature and unite the country,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.). “We must come together and put this anger and division behind us,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.). It is time to “take the crazy rhetoric down on both sides,” said Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.). (Wash Post)

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