Monday, September 30, 2013

Shutting Down, Looking Ahead

I don't have anything positive to say about any current events. I mean, how pathetic do things have to get in this country for this to be an actual email sent by my daughters' elementary school:
Parents of Fourth Grade Students, 
We have received word from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) that IF there is a shutdown of the federal government tomorrowOctober 1, then our field trip will be cancelled and students will report to school at the normal time, 9:15 a.m.  Please be sure to watch the news tonight and tomorrow morning.
Kindest Regards,
The Fourth Grade Team
The threat of government shutdowns and debt limit defaults have been so numerous, the reasonings so tortured, the nonsense so nonsensical that I've stopped watching national news. Instead, I've shifted focus to local affairs. There are reasonable people trying to solve problems together. Of course there are disagreements, but nothing feels like the catastrophic failures we're dealing with elsewhere.

I have shut down when it comes to national issues, but I am looking ahead locally. Education issues capture much of my interest, but the upcoming political campaigns have piqued my curiosity, too. A sampling:

  1. Howard County plans to open a new middle school in 2014, so that means it's redistricting time. (Tomorrow night, the Attendance Area Committee meets for one last time to reflect on the feedback gathered at September's regional meetings. Everyone's invited to attend and watch them work. If you go, please let me know what you saw and what you think of it. Meeting details here.)
  2. Remember the Wellness Policy revision discussion? It continues this fall. HCPSS said it wants to tighten the nutritional standards of foods sold or served to students on school grounds, but it tried to pass the policy contingent on those standards before the standards were developed. Hmm. Tricky. Lots of people want to improve the school system practices around nutrition and physical activity, and some of those areas of broad consensus (were implemented at the start of this year, The policy revision process picked up again on September 12 with a report to the Board. It continues with a public hearing on December 5th. 
  3. We have two official candidates for County Executive! They both grew up in Howard County, attended Atholton High School, and are having gatherings this month. The election is more than a year away, so we will all have plenty of chances to meet Allan Kittleman and Courtney Watson, but if you're itchin' to get started on your sample ballot then mark your calendars for Allan's family picnic on Sunday, October 6th and Courtney's Oktoberfest Celebration on Thursday, October 24th.
What's captured your interest these days? Anything looking good in the days/weeks/months ahead? 

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