Dave Marcotte, School of Public Policy, in The Conversation

As many states across the country have dealt with significant snowfall over the last two months, school districts have been forced to shut down for several days. School of Public Policy professor Dave Marcotte has conducted extensive research on the impact of snow days on student learning, and published an article in The Conversation about the work he has done with his colleagues.

Dave Marcotte“Research shows that fewer school days do reduce student performance, especially for the more disadvantaged students. Evidence from previous winters also shows that more days in school do, in fact, improve achievement for American students overall, something that has been hard to accomplish in recent times,” Marcotte wrote.

In his article, Marcotte referenced studies in Minnesota, Maryland, Colorado, and Massachusetts that have found in years with especially bad winters, there is a significant impact on scores and pass rates.

Marcotte also discussed why it’s possible decisions haven’t been made in states to increase the length of the school year: “…the most substantial obstacle to extending the school year is money. Re-constituting the school year means re-negotiating teacher and staff contracts, paying for extended use of buses and buildings, and in many cases retrofitting schools to include air conditioning to operate into the hot months of summer. Indeed, these costs led Oregon to repeal the provision to extend the school year of the 1991 Education Act for the 21st Century.”

To read Marcotte’s full article titled “Schools close and kids lose,” click here.

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, in The Conversation

In light of the recent significant snowfall across parts of the Northeast, School of Public Policy professor John Rennie Short wrote an article for The Conversation in which he analyzed the impact of climate change on extreme weather events.

John Rennie ShortIn referencing the 60 inches of snow that fell in 30 days on Boston and parts of the wider region, Short wrote: “This is the new normal for weather in the US. Global climate change increases the chances that the once-a-century event is now a once-every-twenty-years occurrence. The country is now experiencing more severe weather events: long droughts in the Southwest, destructive wildfires in the West, and more intense hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.”

In his article, Short discussed urban planning and climate adaptation and the value of publicly funded services, among other topics.

“Immediately after a storm, there is public outcry for more and better emergency responses, but these priorities quickly move to the back of the line of government priorities as the event passes from memory. We are not good at using public monies for extreme, irregular events,” Short wrote. “Major weather events also expose the recurring dilemma of balancing public concerns with private interest. The shift of the past forty years towards private interests is embodied in the desire for small government, reducing taxation and shrinking the public sector.”

To read the full article titled “Extreme weather exposes the vulnerability of our cities to climate change,” click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post

Donald Norris UMBCIn the days surrounding Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s State of the State address, Donald Norris provided analysis on what to expect for the remainder of the legislative session. Norris, professor and director of UMBC’s School of Public Policy, discussed GOP fundraising, the relationship between the governor and legislature, and ongoing discussions over the budget.

Norris was interviewed for several articles in the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post. To read complete coverage, click below:

A GOP governor means new challenges for longtime Md. Senate President Mike Miller (Washington Post)
As budget battle heats up in Annapolis, Democrats rally around school funding (Washington Post)
Hogan, GOP have raised over $2 million since his victory (Baltimore Sun)
Democrats say most of Hogan’s agenda won’t pass (Baltimore Sun)

MPP Information Session (2/9)

Public Policy bldng.Learn about the UMBC Master’s Degree in Public Policy (MPP) at an information session on Monday, February 9 at 7:00 pm in Public Policy Room 438. Enjoy a light dinner and talk with faculty and current students about the field of public policy, career opportunities and how to apply to our MPP program. Those interested in the PhD are also invited to the session.

This event is open to prospective students on and off campus. To register, e-mail your name, year, and major to Sally Helms (helms@umbc.edu).

Donald Norris, Public Policy, Provides Analysis as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Takes Office

In the days surrounding Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s inauguration, Donald Norris provided insight and analysis as to how the Maryland legislature may work with the new governor. Norris, professor and director of UMBC’s School of Public Policy, also reflected on outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley’s legacy.

Donald Norris UMBC

In an NBCWashington.com article, Norris analyzed the relationship between Maryland’s new governor and legislature: “So if Hogan chooses to fight with the Democrats, it’s going to be an ugly four years,” Norris said. “He won’t get anything accomplished. If he can find ground for compromise and cooperation, then I think things will work out pretty well for both sides. We just have to wait and see.”

In an article in the Herald-Mail, Norris discussed outgoing Gov. O’Malley’s handling of the economy: “He balanced the budget in 2007 and corrected the fiscal deficit,” Norris said. “But then the recession hit.” He added, “he is really a data-driven guy.”

Norris was also quoted in two Washington Post articles in which he discussed Gov. Hogan and former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial campaign: “He didn’t have a compelling narrative. He didn’t give people a reason to vote for him,” Norris said.

To read complete coverage of Norris’s analysis, click below:

“A Big Mystery”: What to Expect from New Maryland Gov. Hogan (NBC Washington)
O’Malley defends legacy in helping rural areas (Herald-Mail)
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s appeal to “middle ground” could revive state GOP (Washington Post)
Anthony Brown, once a rising star in Maryland politics, returns to private life (Washington Post) 
Can Larry Hogan, Maryland legislature cooperate? (Baltimore Business Journal- subscription required)

Donald Norris, Public Policy, on WYPR’s Midday with Dan Rodricks, in Bethesda Magazine

Donald Norris UMBCOn December 23, Donald Norris, professor and director of the School of Public Policy, joined WYPR’s Midday with Dan Rodricks for a review of the year’s most significant political stories. Norris, along with Melissa Deckman, chair of the political science department at Washington College, analyzed the results of Maryland’s gubernatorial election, discussed the future of outgoing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and other significant national political stories heading into the new year. The full segment can be accessed here.

On January 7, Norris was quoted in an article published in Bethesda Magazine examining the future of the Purple Line under incoming governor Larry Hogan. “He has enormous power to kill it,” Norris said.

He added, “if [Hogan] zero-funds the Purple Line, or the Red Line in Baltimore, then the legislature, through the budgetary process, can’t do anything,” said Norris, while adding: “That said, the legislature has enormous power otherwise—and they can make life so miserable for the governor that he wouldn’t do something like that or if he did, he would be brought right back to be accountable by the legislature.”

To read the full article titled “Supporters Would Have Little Recourse if Hogan Moves to Halt Purple Line,” click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in National Journal and the Baltimore Sun

Donald Norris UMBCIn a recent National Journal article on a potential bid for the White House by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris was interviewed for the story and discussed how O’Malley’s relationship with the Clintons could affect the 2016 campaign.

“The Clintons and he are close,” said Norris. “He endorsed her the first time. I don’t know he could run against her without burning a lot of bridges he just doesn’t want to burn.”

Norris was also interviewed for a Baltimore Sun article about the future of the Republican Party in Maryland. “They’ve gone through this ‘pull to the right and then re-center’ dance before,” Norris said. “The tea party right and the fringe Republicans could continue what they’ve done: eating their young, going after each other in primaries to make the party even more conservative and, in turn, more marginal in the rest of the state.”