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With the school term about to begin, the Wicomico County Public School District has decided on a virtual reopening with most students learning on line. Delmarva Public Media's Don Rush talks with Joan Smith, president of the Wicomico County Education Association, about how this may change the way we teach. (part 2)

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President Trump and his Education Secretary have been urging schools to reopen this fall despite the coronavirus pandemic. Delmarva Public Media's Don Rush talked with Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association, about her concerns over such a recommendation.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland lawmakers are convening for the last day of a shortened legislative session due to the coronavirus.

They are gathering Wednesday to finish work on priority legislation before adjourning.

Legislative leaders say they plan to reconvene in a special session in the last week of May.

The General Assembly will be wrapping up 19 days before its annual legislative session was scheduled end on April 6.

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on the state's $48 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

Seaford School District Seal

The Seaford School District has decided to ask voters to approve a referendum to fund additional increases in general operating expenses.

WBOC reports that the district wants a tax increase of 72 cents for $100 of assessed property value for general expense by July first of this year.

That would go toward things that range from technology and security to textbooks and athletics.

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Virginia teachers may be able soon to engage in collective bargaining with the public school systems.

Currently, they are forbidden to do so by a measure passed in the 1990’s that bar public employee unions from bargaining over wages and benefits.

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If one Delaware lawmaker has his way school in the state would start after Labor Day.

State Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker told WRDE that he believed that businesses in the First State would benefit from such a delay.

The Delaware Republican said that the first effort was able to get past the Senate but then failed as time ran out for the session.

Don Rush (File Photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland state education department administrator with a long former career in the U.S. Marshal's Service will be the state's first inspector general for education.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Monday that Richard P. Henry will move to his new post next month. Henry is currently executive director of the State Department of Education's Office of Compliance and Monitoring.

Hogan's office says Henry worked for the Marshal's Service for more than 25 years.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is announcing new school grants aimed at promoting computer science education.

Northam announced Monday he had approved a total of $1.3 million in grants to a number of public schools and colleges.

Lawmakers authorized the grants last year, which are to be used on professional development for teachers, instructional resources and other areas related to computers science.

Low-performing schools were given a priority for the funding.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia state employees and public school teachers could soon be getting raises and bonuses.

Money committees in both the state House and Senate on Sunday unveiled their proposed versions of a two-year and more than $135 billion state spending plan.

Both contain larger proposed raises than what Gov. Ralph Northam had proposed.

Each chamber will now vote on its version of a state budget before trying to reconcile their differences before the legislative session ends next month.

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BOWLING GREEN, Va. (AP) — A Virginia county supervisor has apologized for comments he made on social media that were criticized as singling out disabled and nonwhite students.

The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star reports that Caroline County Supervisor Clay Forehand publicly apologized at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Forehand made a Facebook post last week saying teaching has become challenging because federal guidelines prohibit students from being removed from a classroom for acting up based on race or ability status.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is highlighting the need to reduce violent crime in Baltimore in his State of the State speech.

Hogan gave his annual speech Wednesday to the Maryland General Assembly.

He says crime is an urgent crisis and decisive action is needed. The Republican governor called for bipartisanship in his speech to the legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.

Hogan urged lawmakers to support his proposal for tax relief for retirees.

Don Rush

Maryland lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of a measure that would oversee the management of the state’s oysters.

The legislation would use environmental activists, scientists, watermen and seafood sellers along with an independent mediator that would oversee efforts to increase the oyster population.

WBOC reports that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources would then work with an advisory commission and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies.

They would put together a consensus for how to improve the oyster population.

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NEWARK, Del. (AP) — A University of Delaware program that starts this fall will allow high school students to get an early start on their college studies.  

The Delaware State News reports he Early College Credit Program will be free and open to juniors and seniors in all 74 public, charter and private high schools throughout the state.

The introductory courses will be in subjects such as astronomy, philosophy, art history and more.

They'll be transmitted via video from UD’s Newark campus and streamed to the students’ high schools.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Hundreds of Virginia teachers are rallying at the state Capitol for increased public education spending and the repeal of a prohibition on collective bargaining by public employees.

Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed more than $1 billion in new K-12 education spending.

Northam's budget plan includes a 3% raise for teachers and more money for struggling schools.

But education advocates said Monday that the governor's proposals fall short of what's needed because lawmakers have neglected education funding for years.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) --  The Virginia Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday requiring public schools to include free menstrual products in their bathrooms.

Senate Bill 232 applies to schools that educate fifth-to-12th graders.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, this encompasses 132 school districts and almost over 630,000 female students.  hygiene

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- A measure to steer significantly more money to school construction in Maryland is scheduled for a hearing in Annapolis.

The measure known as the “Built to Learn Act” is set for a hearing Thursday in the House Appropriations Committee.

Under the plan, $2.2 billion in additional funding would go to school construction over several years.

It would be financed by bonds through the Maryland Stadium Authority, and the debt would be paid by $125 million annually from casino revenue that goes to the state for education.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A coalition of unions and progressive Maryland Democrats are proposing a package of tax measures to raise money for a plan to improve education in the state.

Del. Julie Palakovich Carr, a Montgomery County Democrat, said at a news conference Wednesday that Maryland needs to reform its tax code not only to improve education, but to make the state's tax system fairer for the majority of the state's residents.

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(AP) Attorneys for Gov. John Carney are trying to prevent Delaware's education secretary and budget director from being deposed in a lawsuit alleging that the state is failing to provide adequate educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.

A judge planned to hear arguments Thursday on a requested protective order preventing Susan Bunting and Michael Jackson from being deposed.

Attorneys for the ACLU and Community Legal Aid Society say the two officials have knowledge and information that can't be obtained from others.

Don Rush (File Photo)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has highlighted funds to fight crime, improve education and protect the environment in his budget plan.

The Republican governor held a news conference Tuesday to talk about highlights in his $47.9 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

The governor is releasing his entire budget Wednesday.

The General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, will have the rest of the legislative session to work on the budget before adjourning April 6.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland lawmakers have started their annual legislative session by electing new leadership. Former teacher Bill Ferguson was unanimously elected as the state's first new Senate president in more than three decades.

The Baltimore Democrat emphasized the importance of a sweeping K-12 education measure that will be a top subject of debate this year.

Across the hall, House Speaker Adrienne Jones was reelected to lead the 141-member chamber.

Wesley College Website

Wesley College is seeking an additional $3.2 million from the state of Delaware.

This comes after the private college received the second half of $2 million in state funding.

The new request would also come from Higher Education Economic Development Investment Fund.

WBOC reports that the money is set to be used to ensure that the school will qualify for federal aid.

The private college has been put on a cash monitoring list by the U.S. Department of Education which has been looking into the institution’s finances.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new report by the Virginia State Board of Education says there remains a persistent achievement gap for certain student groups and the state faces a growing shortage of high-quality teachers.

The report was officially presented to lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam on Sunday, and it calls for elected officials to rethink how schools are funded.


BALTIMORE (AP) - Public and private school teachers can now start voting on their choice to represent their interests on the Maryland State Board of Education.

WBAL-TV reports that voting began Sunday to choose an active school teacher from among 13 teacher candidates to fill a board seat. A bill approved during this past legislative session directed the teacher election. Voting ends Nov. 17, with the results to be released Dec. 23. The winner will serve 2 1/2 years on the board.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's leading Democrats are announcing plans to increase school construction funding by about $2.2 billion above what's currently allocated.

Leaders in the House and Senate in the General Assembly are scheduled to make the announcement Wednesday at Forest Heights Elementary School in Prince George's County.

The proposal will be introduced in measure for the next legislation session, which begins in January. The money would be spent over several years.

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Even though Sussex Technical School would like more students to enroll it won’t be able to do so.

The Delaware Department of Education denied a $150 million request for the construction of a new facility to replace the Sussex Tech.

WBOC reports that state officials said that the ask was too large to put into its funding budget because of factors ranging from limits on bonding and projects already in the pipeline to need for non-school projects.

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A panel reviewing how effectively the Delaware school system is using a $75 million funding plan held its first meeting last night in Dover.

The plan backed by Governor John Carney is aimed at helping students from low-income families and those whose primary language is not English.

WBOC reports that the Opportunity Funding Community Engagement Committee will also examine ways to get the word out about the how the money can be most effectively used.

In addition, it will also recommend the rules and mechanisms for the program’s future.

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There’s a proposal by Delaware lawmakers to require middle and high school students be provided with  menstrual hygiene products by the next term.

State Representative Valerie Longhhurst told the Wilmington News Journal that, “Period products are not a luxury.”

She added that they are essential but that cost can be a barrier.

Under the measure they would be free of charge and available in school bathrooms.

The Delaware Democrat said that affordability had been a serious burden for low-income families putting stress on children as they grow up.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland panel on education has voted to recommend updating the state's funding formula between the state and local governments to phase in a major increase in money for schools.

The work group is recommending a state commission phase in new spending that will reach about $4 billion a year for K-12 a decade from now.

Under the proposal, the state would contribute about $2.8 billion and local governments would contribute $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2030.

The recommendations will go to the full Kirwan Commission.

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Delaware has been awarded $7.5 million over the next five years to expand its support for children who have been exposed to trauma or toxic stress.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education will provide help with the resulting academic, social and behavioral health challenges.

Governor John Carney said that it was the state’s job to address the effects of such trauma.

WBOC reports that the Delaware Department of Education will up its screening of students to spot those experiencing trauma.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Some schools in Delaware have incorporated breath work, mindfulness and meditation practices into their everyday offerings.

Delaware State News reports such techniques have made their way into districts that say the practices help both students and teachers.

Smyrna School District Superintendent Patrik Williams says the district is incorporating mindfulness techniques in the hopes of supporting social and emotional learning in the classroom. He said such techniques reduce stressors and distractions while allowing participants to better concentrate.