Weekly News Roundup: State Superintendent Resigns, Comptroller Questions Contract with Pearson

State Superintendent Resigns: Lillian Lowery announced on Friday that she is resigning from her job as Maryland schools superintendent. She will take a job as CEO of an education non-profit in Columbus, Ohio. Deputy Superintendent Jack Smith will complete her term, which ends next July. The twelve-member State Board of Education is responsible for hiring a new superintendent. (Baltimore Sun)

Teen Murder Suspect: Police have taken 17-year-old Chet Markland Jarrett, Jr. into custody and charged him with the murder of Jajuan McCrae (WTOP). McCrae, also 17, was a rising senior at DuVal High School. McCrae wanted to study business in college and was described by his aunt as “well-mannered, always happy” (Washington Post).

Cell Towers: Milestone Communications continues to construct cell towers on school grounds, and some parents are concerned about potential health risks. (Sentinel)

First Day of School:  English learners at Prince George’s County’s new International Schools are excited about the new opportunity (WUSA 9). CEO Kevin Maxwell talks about a smooth first day, but admits that bus schedules can sometimes be a problem at the beginning of the year. The increase in enrollment — now more than 129,000 students — is a good sign for the school system (WTOP). All schools were ready to open on the first day except Thomas Stone Elementary, which was closed due to a water main break (WJLA).

Cost of New State Assessments: State Superintendent Lillia Lowery has said that the new PARCC assessments are saving the state $2.5 million yearly compared with previous assessments, but some are questioning that claim. Local districts are bearing the burden of increased costs associated with technology, professional development, and testing support personnel. (Maryland Reporter)

Franchot Questions Pearson Testing Contract: State Comptroller Peter Franchot challenged state education officials Wednesday about a contract the state has with Pearson, the standardized testing company that writes the PARCC exams. He questioned “our state’s relationship with this company.” (Maryland Reporter)

Parks and Recreation Shootings: Prince George’s County parks have seen an increase in shootings and homicides this year. (Washington Post)

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