Tag: montgomery county

Arkansas Overturns Ban on Teacher-Student Sex; Maryland Might Strengthen It

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Scott Spear was a teacher and coach who had sex with a 16 year old student in Montgomery County. Charges against him were dropped due to a loophole in Maryland state law.

David Paschal was a 38 year-old history teacher at Elkins High School in Arkansas when he began sleeping with one of his 18 year-old students. Pretty skeevy, yes — but no longer illegal, since the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned its law banning sexual contact between teachers and students…as long as the students are 18.

The law was there to protect students from teachers who might use their age and authority to start inappropriate relationships. But the Court found the law unconstitutional for criminalizing sexual contact between consenting adults. Paschal, the history teacher, is currently serving a 30-year sentence for his consensual relationship. “I think that this case does not necessarily say a teacher can do that and keep their job,” said Paschal’s lawyer, Casey Copeland. “I think the loss of job and loss of teacher’s license might be appropriate for that, but it’s not appropriate to put someone in jail for 30 years.”

Where the 1% Live: Maryland Boasts One Third of Richest Counties in US

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Courtesy of Citybizlist – Maryland lays claim to five of America’s 15 richest counties, led by Howard County with a median household income of $101,771, according to a report by The Street.

The Street looked at Census Bureau data from 2010, selecting the 15 counties with the highest median household income – boasting a combined median income nearly double the national average of $49,445.

American’s richest county is Loudon County, Va., with a $119,540 median income.

Read the full story here.

Here is what The Street said about the five counties in Maryland that made the list.

3rd Richest: Howard County, Md.

Median Household Income: $101,771

With an astounding 58.3% of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, Howard County shows that higher education can pay. One of only three counties that have a six-figure median household income in the U.S., Howard is located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., attracting the extremely affluent. The median value of owner-occupied homes in the county is $456,200.

12th Richest: Montgomery County, Md.

Median Household Income: $89,155

With almost 1 million residents, Montgomery is one of the largest counties on our list. It’s no surprise that this county is so large, since it’s situated just north of Washington, D.C. and only an hour from Baltimore.

More than half of the county’s population has a bachelor’s degree or higher and the home values in this area are astounding. The median value of owner-occupied homes was $482,900 from 2006-2010.

13th Richest: Calvert County, Md.

Median Household Income: $88,862

Calvert lies just across the Patuxent River from St. Mary’s County, which holds the 14th spot on our list. The median household income in this county didn’t see the same boom that St. Mary’s saw year over year, though. Its income remained essentially flat, decreasing less than 1% from 2009.

Veterans make up roughly 10% of the population, according to the most recent census data.

Read the rest of the story at citybizlist.com

Gaithersburg Man Authors a Book about His Struggle with Illiteracy

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Gaithersburger Milton Whitley just published a memoir, which would be a noteworthy achievement for anyone, but his book is titled Learning to Read at Age 52. That’s right, up until a few years ago Whitley was like 81,000 other adults in Montgomery county: he lacked basic literacy skills. He relied on girlfriends to fill out job applications. At his job installing street signs in DC, he went 21 years without a raise because of all the mistakes he let slip by.

Whitley, a North Carolina native and one of 17 children, dropped out of school at age 14. Now, at 57 (after spending years devoting nine hours a week to learning to read), he addresses assemblies at high schools encouraging students not to give up on themselves. It’s an inspiring story, but one that shines a light on a chronic problem. Recent, non-English speaking immigrants account for a portion of adult illiteracy rates, but the rest are mostly people like Whitley; they just slipped through the cracks.

Montgomery County’s adult illiteracy rate is 11 percent, but eight Maryland counties (including Baltimore City) are even worse. Prince George’s County has an adult illiteracy rate of nearly 22 percent!

Whitley’s autobiography, Learning to Read at Age 52, was released by the group ProLiteracy in November.

Purple Line to Unite Metrorail, Carve up Properties in Maryland

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The Maryland Transit Authority has plans to develop a new light rail line. The new Purple Line will run mostly east to west in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, connecting Metrorail’s Red, Green, and Orange Lines.

According to the Purple Line’s official website, “The MTA has made it a priority to avoid the acquisition of private property where possible, and minimize the acquisitions, where they are unavoidable.”

Be that as it may, (and though the plans are not final) of the 330 parcels of property currently slated to be permanently condemned by the construction of the Purple Line, thirty-one are homes and forty-three are businesses. And of course plenty of people who get to keep their homes will lose their front yards; some businesses could lose their parking spaces.

And because Silver Spring and points east only recently began accounting for Light Rail construction in their development plans, those areas have had less time to keep the likely Purple Line path clear, and so they stand to be the most affected by property acqusitions.

Of course, even if you don’t find yourself displaced by the construction plans, a new light rail line will change the culture of the area, for better or worse.

Construction on the Purple Line won’t begin until at least 2015, which is either three more years of waiting to finally be more connected to DC, or three more years to dread the carving up of your home or business property. On the other hand, the MTA is encouraging public involvement in the finalization of the Purple Line plans. So if you’ve got an opinion about it, you can voice it.

The Dark Side of Self-Esteem

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After years of doling out gold star stickers and supportive smiles, teachers in some school districts — including Montgomery County are learning a hard lesson:  that building students’ self esteem may make them into worse learners.

According to several studies, the foundation of many schools’ approach to self-esteem building (giving praise without worrying too much about actual outcomes) doesn’t help students learn.  Instead of offering empty praise, teachers should be rewarding students for real-world skills that will help them throughout their lives:  persistence, risk-taking, resilience.

Even praising students for being smart can backfire.  Studies have shown that students who are rewarded for their braininess become less likely to seek out challenges, presumably because they don’t want to erode their reputations as brainiacs. This can result in bright kids who tend to coast through assignments that are too easy for them, and/or kids who become frustrated when success isn’t immediate. Smart students become, in effect, “praise junkies.”

Montgomery County schools are among many nationwide that are incorporating new neuroscience findings into their education philosophies. What kind of positive feedback do you think is helpful for teachers (and parents!) to dole out?

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