Tag: science

Pay Equity Act in Montgomery County is aimed at reducing gender pay disparities

GENDER/EQUITY | New legislation introduced in Montgomery County is aimed at reducing pay disparities between male and female county employees. County Council Member Evan Glass’s “Pay Equity” act will prohibit county government employers from basing salary offers on applicants’ past earnings, and will require the county executive’s office to assess gender pay equity within county government every two years. (WAMU, 5/7)

Women in Maryland typically earn 86 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the National Women’s Law Center, which supports barring employers from asking job candidates about their salary history. Black and Latina women face even larger disparities across the state.  “Since wages for women generally lag behind wages for men, and wages for women of color lag even further behind wages of white men, basing a starting salary on a person’s current salary is likely to result in an adverse impact on the future wages of women employees,” says a county memorandum.

– A just-released study highlights recommendations for transforming the Greater Washington region’s bus network into a better system that works when, where, and how customers need it. (WaPo, 5/6)

– The District is looking into adding tolls and implementing decongestion pricing to address traffic concerns. (WTOP, 5/2)

EDUCATION | Can DC’s public schools survive the coming enrollment surge? (GGWash, 5/2)

– Amazon says that its presence in the Washington region won’t cause housing costs to spike like they did in Seattle due to better planning. (WaPo, 5/3)

– Newly Enforced DCHA Policy Prematurely Cuts Families Off From Rental Assistance, Housing Attorneys Say (WCP, 5/1)

WORKFORCE | The DC Fiscal Policy Institute highlights the history of May Day and the fight for workers’ rights in the District. (DCFPI, 5/1)

SHUTDOWN | The shutdown may be over, but contractors continue to suffer from it. (WBJ, 5/6)

CLIMATE/ENVIRONMENT | According to a new United Nations report, up to 1 million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, and humans will suffer. (WaPo, 5/6)

PHILANTHROPY | How Philanthropy Can Preserve Press Freedom (Chronicle, 4/29)

Yay and yum – Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are at their most plentiful in seven years.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Thursday!

– Buffy

Upcoming Kirwan Commission recommendations to address educational inequality in Maryland

– Hundreds of millions of dollars in education funding may soon bolster Maryland schools if lawmakers can agree on how to divide the money. The Kirwan Commission, or the State’s Commission on Educational Excellence, will soon present its final recommendations for the new school funding model to lawmakers in Annapolis. (WAMU, 2/25)

In 2016, Governor Hogan called for the formation of the 25-member Kirwan Commission to address the gap in funding for public schools. This comes at a time when one study said Maryland is the 15th worst state in terms of regressive education funding … “meaning that districts with high proportions of low-income students receive less funding than schools serving wealthier communities” said William Kirwan, chair of the commission.


– With the release of a new report on equity in Prince George’s County solutions have been proposed to move the county toward equity and equality for communities of color. (Prince Georges Sentinel, 2/20)

Confederate flag incident at Virginia high school sparks concern of racist behavior (WaPo, 2/24)

– Virginia state superintendent says schools must address racism in light of recent scandals. (WTOP, 2/25)

–  Swastikas have been found at three sites in past week in Virginia, in what appears to be three separate hate crime incidents. (WaPo, 2/26)

– The Virginia General Assembly recently passed hundreds of bills, including one that gives residents an extra two weeks to pay rent that is past due and one focused on eviction reform. (WAMU, 2/22)

 – There’s No Such Thing as a Dangerous Neighborhood (CityLab, 2/25)

GUN VIOLENCE | Maryland lawmakers heard from family members affected by gun violence as well as gun-rights supporters in Annapolis on ‘gun day’ in Annapolis. (WTOP, 2/25)

BUSINESS | The proposal to raise the minimum wage in Maryland to $15 has different opinions among the business community. (WAMU,  2/22)

– “Donors InVesting in the Arts,” or “DIVAs,” is a giving circle managed by the Greater Washington Community Foundation that is promoting civic engagement through the arts. (GWCF, 2/21)

– Funder support for media research has been growing as evidenced by the Knight Foundation’s recent commitment of $300 million to support local journalism. (Chronicle, 2/19 – Subscription)

“Plant-based” is so the new vegan.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Friday!

– Buffy

Region’s top 10 Corporate Philanthropists named [News, 5.11.12]

GIVING | At an awards ceremony this morning, the Washington Business Journal announced the region’s top 10 corporate philanthropists of 2011, and we’re proud to see many WRAG members on the list (WBJ, 5/11):

1. Clark Enterprises, Inc. ($12.19m)
2. Wells Fargo ($12.03)
3. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield ($7.34m)
5. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States ($5.8 m)
6. Northrup Grumman ($5.6m)
9. Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. ($3.49m)

Congratulations are also due to David and Katherine Bradley – founders of the CityBridge Foundation – who were named Philanthropists of the Year! The WBJ has interviews with both about their philanthropy, interests, and inspirations. (WBJ, 5/11 – subscription)

HIV/AIDS | A panel of experts has recommended that the FDA approve a drug (Truvada) to help prevent HIV infection in high-risk populations (WaPo, 5/11):

Truvada is already FDA-approved for the treatment of HIV. That means physicians are free to prescribe it “off label” for prevention; reports indicate that some already do. But a new FDA approval will free the company that makes the drug, Gilead Sciences, to market Truvada for prevention, too.

– Our region’s eighth grade students are really awful at science, but so is the rest of the country. The results of the 2011 Nation’s Report Card from the Department of Education show that the District has the worst science proficiency in the entire country (7%), while Maryland (32%) and Virginia (40%) are slightly above the national average of 31%. (Examiner, 5/11)

Neighborhood admissions preference for charter schools to be studied (WaPo, 5/11)

Ford Foundation Gives $50-Million to Push for Longer School Days (Chronicle, 5/12)

HOUSING | Listen: On the Kojo Nnamdi yesterday, local experts talked about the declining stock of affordable rentals in the region. (WAMU, 5/10)

TRANSIT | Metro’s sluggish service has saved the agency $20m in operating costs, but that won’t stop this summer’s fare hikes. (Examiner, 5/10) Inefficiency saves money? Hmmm…

It’s going to be a really nice weekend. If you aren’t busy, you otter check out the Zoo’s newest residents.

I’m excited to see Tim Burton’s new movie Dark Shadows…and The Avengers again. 

See you all on Monday!

District has $240 million surplus…Pepco buys UMD-designed solar home for ‘living classroom’…Gray asks for inquiry into affordable housing project [News, 1.31.12]

BUDGETS | Mayor Gray and District CFO Natwar Ghandi have announced that the city has a $240 million surplus. Some council members are now asking whether they “overshot when they instituted emergency furloughs and increased income taxes last year.” (WaPo, 1/31) Well, yeah, but only by a couple hundred million. Better to be in the black than the red though.

Related: The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute has a helpful Q&A on the surplus and what happens next. (DCFPI, 1/31)

HOUSING | Million-Dollar Wasteland: D.C. mayor to ask for inquiry of ill-fated housing deal (WaPo, 1/31) “Peaceoholics, the nonprofit organization that proposed building the housing for at-risk young men in 2008, no longer owns the three apartment complexes, which were purchased with money from the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development.”

Follow up: Though the Post article ran in today’s paper, WAMU is reports that the D.C. Housing and Community Development has already responded by firing a staffer. (WAMU, 1/31)

EDUCATION | District’s science education standards top the nation (Examiner, 1/31) The standards themselves are rated as excellent, but the proficiency of students is not.

ENVIRONMENT | Pepco has announced that it will purchase an energy-efficient home designed by the University of Maryland that won the 2011 Solar Decathalon. Pepco will use the home as a “living classroom” and will “conduct research at the home, monitoring its performance and adding their own efficient innovations like smart thermostats and an electric car charging station.” (Urban Turf, 1/31)

WORKFORCE | D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown has proposed that the status “unemployed” be added to the list of people protected from discrimination under the Human Rights Act. The Business Journal reports that such a requirement would cost the city more than half-a-million dollars and add more than 150 annual investigations to the Office of Human Rights. (WBJ, 1/31)

Unemployed due to the tough economy is one thing, but, as a matter of ethics, some people have also lost jobs for reasons that potential employers should know about.

ARTS | Last month, Congress quietly took control of a piece of the Mall away from the Park Service. Now filmmakers are worried that they won’t be able to use a favorite spot to film the Capitol. (WaPo, 1/31)

Related: This could mean bad news for productions like Transformers, and even worse news for productions like Transforming Philanthropy.

Spoiler warning! If you want Super Bowl commercials to be a surprise, don’t read on. Otherwise, you might enjoy these two clever commercials from Honda. One is a tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featuring Matthew Broderick, and the other features Jerry Seinfeld and some characters from his old sitcom – plus a surprise guest at the end.