Schools Work to Fill Teaching Jobs

'Highly Qualified' Instructors Required

As school administrators across the region scramble to fill teaching vacancies this summer, a little-noticed provision of the federal No Child Left Behind law is raising the recruiting stakes.

By the end of the coming school year, the law requires "highly qualified" teachers in all core academic classes.

One-fourth of Maryland's classes did not meet that standard in the school year that just ended.

Decades Later, a Connector Route

Ehrlich Cites Victory of 'Vast Majority'

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced that Maryland wants to build an east-west highway across the Washington suburbs along a southern route that has been on planning maps for decades, despite the political, legal and environmental challenges that have dogged the intercounty connector project.

Standing on a grassy patch just south of the proposed route at Veirs Mill Road and Route 28, Ehrlich nodded to a small gathering of opponents and declared that "the vocal minority has won for too long. Today, the view of the vast majority finally wins."

The 18-mile, $2.4 billion road is the most expensive new highway project in the Washington region and would be the first major road in the area in a generation.

Van Hollen Won't Seek Senate Seat

Montgomery Democrat Had Assessed Support

Rep. Chris Van Hollen ended months of speculation by announcing that he will not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated next year by the retirement of Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.).

Van Hollen, a Democrat from Montgomery County elected to Congress in 2002, spent the past four months raising funds and traveling the state to gauge support for a possible candidacy.

Metro Plans Advisory Council

Panel Made Up of Riders to Address Concerns

Metro board members decided to create a Riders Advisory Council made up of rail, bus and paratransit customers from across the region to address concerns that the public transit agency is unresponsive to the public.

The council is to have six members each from Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Across the Region

Panda Birth; Bridge Delay; Execution Stayed

* National Zoo panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a squealing, squirming cub the size of a stick of butter, the zoo's first panda birth after years of effort. Zookeepers were elated at Mei Xiang's tender care for the cub, but they cautioned that the first several days of life would be critical to the newborn's survival.

* The opening of three bridges that are part of Virginia's Springfield interchange reconstruction will be delayed several months, making it likely that the project will not be completed as scheduled in the summer of 2007.

* Just 41/2 hours before his scheduled execution for killing an Arlington pool hall manager, Virginia death row inmate Robin Lovitt was given a reprieve by the U.S. Supreme Court, which stayed his sentence until the fall, when it will consider whether his case deserves a hearing on its merits.

* U.S. aviation authorities will suspend the post-Sept. 11, 2001, rule that has required airline passengers to stay in their seats for 30 minutes while approaching or taking off from Reagan National Airport.

* The Defense Department's plan to consolidate the country's military bases would lead to slight increases in the Washington region's traffic and pollution and a minor decrease in mass transit ridership, according to an analysis. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and researchers at George Mason University also found that the influx of workers that would be generated by the plan would require an additional 8,500 housing units.

Contented Cub The National Zoo's giant panda cub is letting its mom sleep more.