Silver Chips Online

National News for March 15 - 28

By Julia Wynn, Online Connections and Food Editor
March 29, 2010
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The New York Times and The Washington Post. Silver Chips Online posts these news summaries to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Maryland
March 15 - Officials in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties have outlined a deficit reduction plan that will cut thousands of jobs, hinder government operations and slash tens of millions in education spending. A decrease in state aid packages and other revenue has driven county lawmakers to take drastic measures to compensate for lost funds. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has proposed a plan that eliminates $137 million from school budgets and cuts the total federal budget for the first time in over 40 years. Hiring freezes are also expected in both counties. Officials from Virginia schools, healthcare systems and public safety operations will also make substantial cuts to prevent an increase in state taxes.

Tampa, Fla.
A high-speed rail line will replace this median along Interstate Four from Tampa to Orlando. Courtesy of The New York Times
A high-speed rail line will replace this median along Interstate Four from Tampa to Orlando.
March 22 - President Obama has allocated $1.25 million in stimulus money for the construction of a high-speed rail system between Tampa and Orlando. Despite reaching speeds of 168 miles per hour, the train will decrease trip time by less than 30 minutes because it is scheduled to make several stops on the way to Orlando. The project, expected to be completed by 2015, has drawn criticism because of its gratuitous nature; some congressmen believe that the high-speed system should be introduced to more congested areas of the country.

Washington, D.C.
March 24 - The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) recently reported that fourth graders in Washington, D.C. public schools have shown steady growth in reading scores since 2003. However, the study also found that achievement has remained virtually unchanged on a national scale. Despite substantial funds allocated to improve reading proficiency among minorities as a part of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), there is still a significant disparity in achievement between black and white students nationwide.

Washington, D.C.
President Obama signs the historic healthcare bill that will provide coverage to over 32 million previously uninsured Americans. Courtesy of The Washington Post
President Obama signs the historic healthcare bill that will provide coverage to over 32 million previously uninsured Americans.
March 26 - House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the final portion of healthcare legislation that has been debated for over a year. The largest change in the healthcare system in 40 years, the overhaul will provide insurance to about 32 million previously uninsured people, including those with pre-existing conditions. The new system is funded in part by increased taxes on the wealthy. Republicans have united in an attempt to repeal the bill, while Democrats have joined a campaign to gain more public support for the legislation before mid-term congressional elections.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10031