Hope for real
1| Court upholds break for school choice
The details: The Supreme Court upheld an Arizona tax break for donations to school tuition organizations. The 5-4 decision held that a tax break does not constitute government endorsement of religious schools chosen by parents using the credit.
2| Unemployment falls in urban areas
The details: The Labor Department said more than three-quarters of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas reported lower unemployment in February than in the previous month. More than 300 cities’ unemployment rates have declined over the past year.
Mushrooms v. mosquitoes
3| Mutant fungus reduces malaria
The details: Researchers at Westminster University and Johns Hopkins University genetically modified a fungus to reduce levels of malaria in exposed mosquitoes. The fungus weapon may be more effective and environmentally sound than other insecticides, and may be useful targeting other insect-borne diseases.
Not so fast
4| Gas supplies drop less than expected
The details: Natural gas supplies fell by only 45 billion cubic feet, less than the expected 49 billion to 53 billion cubic feet. Analysts say there is more than enough supply to meet current high demand.
Dressed for success
5| House approval for voucher program
The details: The U.S. House revived the D.C. school voucher program previously killed by President Obama and the 111th Congress. A Department of Education study found the program increased graduation rates and reading achievement among participating students.
Hitting a headwind
6| Wind power proposal dies
The details: Maryland legislators rejected Gov. Martin O’Malley’s attempt to require one-fifth of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources, including wind power, by 2022. Lawmakers in both chambers killed the governor’s signature initiative over concerns it would spike consumers’ electric bills.
7| School discipline policy revised
The details: Faced with mounting pressure from parents, Fairfax School Board members told Superintendent Jack Dale to notify parents before their children are questioned for breaking school rules. The board also asked Dale to clarify his plans to record all disciplinary hearings.
8| No sanctuary in Prince George’s
The details: Prince George’s County deports more illegal immigrants under the federal Secure Communities program than all but one jurisdiction in the nation. The program requires police officers to send the fingerprints of anyone they arrest to federal immigration officials, who check them against national databases.
9| Asian students outpace whites
The details: A study by the Center on Education Policy may encourage more “tiger moms” to push their children to excel academically. The study found that the achievement gap between advanced Asian and white students in Virginia and Maryland widened between 2006 and 2009.
10| Mount Vernon library
The details: Thousands of rare books and hundreds of letters written by George Washington will be housed in a new $60 million presidential library at Mt. Vernon. The library, which will open in 2013, is the first to focus on the nation’s first president.
10 highlights for the week of April 3-9
Hope for real