September 16, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - A state effort to target funding to lagging school districts did not reduce student achievement and per-student spending disparities, a recent study says. Under the plan, which is no longer in effect, the state sent additional money to school districts that were spending less than what a formula determined was adequate for a district with its number of students and level of poverty, among other factors. The planned six-year program ended after three years. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Georgia State University concluded in a National Tax Journal study published earlier this month that the payments Pennsylvania sent to these districts did not reduce the gaps in spending or student achievement that separate wealthy and poorer districts.
August 5, 2016
By Michael A. MacDowell It's debatable whether it was Einstein, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, or none of them who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. What isn't debatable is the validity of the statement. Individuals, institutions, and countries should learn from past mistakes, but they don't. Take Venezuela. When Hugo Chávez, the self-styled democratic socialist, was elected president of Venezuela in 1999, the country was wealthy, possessing immense proven oil reserves.
August 4, 2016 |
A widely prescribed diabetes drug that has shown potential for helping weakened hearts failed to reduce deaths or rehospitalizations in a study of patients with advanced heart failure. There was a trend toward worse outcomes among the heart-failure patients who also had diabetes, but this could have occurred by chance. The clinical trial of 300 patients, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was led by the University of Pennsylvania and involved 24 U.S. centers, including Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Temple University Hospital, and Lancaster Heart and Stroke Foundation.
July 15, 2016 |
A teacher at beleaguered Delaware Valley Charter High School has asked the Philadelphia School District's top financial official to reconsider withholding $820,000 in payments to the school this summer. The district said the charter school in Logan owes the money for overbilling for students in past years and failing to make required pension payments for teachers. But Matthew Black, 27, who has taught math at the school for two years, said it's the teachers and other staffers who were hurt when the charter could not make payroll last week.
July 2, 2016
By Marc Bookman Forty years ago, on July 2, 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court put its imprimatur on capital punishment in the case of Gregg v. Georgia . This was a surprising development. Only four years earlier, the court had struck down death-penalty laws across the country, declaring the death penalty "cruel and unusual in the same way as being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual. " In other words, the laws did not target those most deserving of the maximum punishment, instead making death sentences a random occurrence.
July 1, 2016 |
History is as fresh as yesterday, still moving under the microscope, still capable of becoming something different when it is finally preserved forever in amber. The historical view of Buddy Ryan in this town has stabilized in the years since he was fired by Norman Braman in 1991. After 25 years, Ryan's varied and unpredictable personality has narrowed to the caricature of the wisecracking bully who united both a team and a city. That's true enough, looking through the other end of the binoculars, and Ryan, who died this week at 85 after going a full four quarters with cancer, would certainly approve the shorthand version of his biography with the Eagles.
June 28, 2016 |
Following a long campaign that drew support from both revenue-hungry local-spending advocates and paternalist nonprofits and foundations, Philadelphia City Council has approved a 1 1/2-cent-per-ounce tax on soft drinks, whether naturally or artificially sweetened, on top of an existing 8 percent city sales tax, adding about a dollar to the cost of a two-liter bottle. Lay aside for now the specter of nanny-statism (former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chipped in for a pro-tax ad campaign)
June 18, 2016 |
It wasn't until Bonnie Bishop gave up on her dream that it came true. The Texas native had spent 12 years scuffling as an independent singer-songwriter without making much headway, even after having two of her songs recorded by Bonnie Raitt and another performed on the prime-time TV soap Nashville . It got to the point where she couldn't even afford Christmas presents for her family. So she retreated to her parents' home in the Lone Star State to regroup. "I couldn't keep doing it the way I was doing it," the 37-year-old says over the phone from Nashville.
June 9, 2016
By Stacey Kallem, Barbara H. Chaiyachati, and Irène P. Mathieu One of the most rewarding parts of training to be a pediatrician is caring for a newborn patient and then watching that child grow up into a bright, curious, and engaging toddler. However, all too often, we see those perfect newborns we care for face obstacles beyond their control that hinder healthy development. Adversity in the first few years of life, such as poverty, parental substance abuse, and neighborhood violence, can result in toxic stress, or dangerously high stress over long periods of time.
May 11, 2016
By Veronique de Rugy It's no surprise that trust in the government is at an all-time low. Government failures and promises broken by administration officials in the last eight years alone have been plentiful. Take the botched recovery after the Great Recession. The Obama administration promised that if the government spent $800 billion in stimulus, unemployment wouldn't rise above 8.8 percent. The plan was adopted, the spending was on its way, and the unemployment rate shot up above 10 percent and hovered at this painful level for months.