State Digest

STATE DIGEST

May 01, 2007

Maryland reaffirms its ties with S. Korean `sister state'

Gov. Martin O'Malley reaffirmed Maryland's "sister state" relationship with Gyeongsangnam-do Province, South Korea yesterday, signing a memorandum to extend the 16-year symbolic partnership.

Standing side by side in a State House reception room, Gov. Taeho Kim of the Gyeongsangnam Province and O'Malley pledged to continue a discussion across the globe on education, health care, business interests and the environment. They spoke to each other through interpreters.

The men have much in common. The Korean governor is 45, O'Malley is 44. Both former mayors, they are viewed by many in their respective nations as men with possible futures on a national stage.

"I think he's going for the youngest presidential hopeful in South Korea," said David Han, president of the Korean Society of Maryland, noting that the Korean governor will not run this year but possibly in 2011.

O'Malley, who was invited by his counterpart yesterday to visit Gyeongsangnam Province, said the partnerships "play an important role in today's increasingly smaller world." He paraphrased a Korean saying:

"A single stick can be easily broken, but a bundle of sticks together is impossible to break."

The international pairings date back to the post-World War II period, according to the Web site of the Maryland Secretary of State. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sought to bridge the cultural divide between nations marked by the economic and social scars of war by linking cities.

Maryland is also partnered with Anhui Province, China; State of Jalisco, Mexico; Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan; City of St. Petersburg/Leningrad Oblast, Russia; Liberia; Lodz Region, Poland; State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Walloon Region, Belgium.

Jennifer Skalka

Montgomery

CitiStat-style system for schools backed

Gov. Martin O'Malley said yesterday he will encourage school districts to bring CitiStat-style data analysis to student performance. Such analysis could reassure taxpayers that the billions in additional education spending the state has made in the past several years have been a good investment, the governor said.

Though O'Malley gained national prominence for his use of computer tracking to monitor crime statistics and the delivery of government services when he was mayor of Baltimore, he said the city school district was slow to adopt similar management techniques.

Yesterday, he visited the headquarters of the Montgomery County school system to watch a session of M-Stat, a system inspired by CitiStat and similar programs, that tracks more than 100 measures of student performance, from suspensions to SAT scores.

O'Malley said the tradition of local control of education precludes folding school statistics into StateStat - the statewide version of CitiStat he is launching. But he said he will seek to provide technical support for local officials and encourage the sharing of best practices among school systems.

He said the effort is crucial given the state's large increase in education spending over the past five years.

"There are few issues Marylanders care more passionately about than investing in the future of our children," O'Malley said. "But people want to know what kind of outcomes these investments are providing."

Andrew A. Green

Annapolis

Gates to speak at Navy graduation

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will be the keynote speaker at the Naval Academy's graduation at 10 a.m. May 25, the academy announced yesterday.

The rotation of speakers at the service academies' commencement ceremonies also includes the president, vice president and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gates, who took over the Pentagon after Donald H. Rumsfeld resigned last year, is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bradley Olson

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