July 30, 2015 |
President Obama's recent announcement of a new program to extend broadband Internet into low-income homes couldn't have come at a better time. That's especially true in cities like Philadelphia, where the gaping digital divide has left so many families without a reliable online connection. ConnectHome will initially provide free or discounted broadband access to families in 28 communities nationally, including Philadelphia and Camden. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will partner with private Internet service providers to target families with school-age children living in publicly subsidized housing.
July 25, 2015 |
The first 20 of 175 Gap stores picked to close throughout North America will shut their doors for good on Sunday, including two in upstate Pennsylvania and one in North Jersey. The closures are a sign of how far Gap has tumbled. Long a retail innovator, Gap has seen competitors adopt its quick-to-market strategies and has been getting gored by online competition. Another sign of its decline: Last quarter, the Gap division posted just more than half the U.S. sales of its Old Navy division, which has been doing better and is not seeing any closures.
July 21, 2015
PHILADELPHIA'S future is dependent on the future of its children. Most parents know that. And most parents - rich, poor and middle-class - want a better life for their children. They also know, in their gut, that the path to that better life is an education. There is a vast aspiring class of parents in this city who spend an enormous amount of time and effort seeking a good education for their kids. They join the admissions lottery at charter schools. They sometimes move to be in the catchment area of a good public school.
July 15, 2015 |
If Pennsylvania closed gaps in student achievement, the payoff would be enormous, according to a study released Monday. Had the Commonwealth wiped out achievement shortfalls based on race and ethnicity, family economic status, and parental education a decade ago, its gross domestic product would be as much as $44 billion higher and its students would sit near the top of U.S. and world rankings, according to the analysis by the RAND Corp. The study, commissioned by Temple University's Center on Regional Politics, found that each group of Pennsylvania students stands to gain up to $5.1 billion in lifetime income earnings and overall benefit to society if graduation-rate gaps fall away.
June 7, 2015 |
A couple of studies have crossed my electronic desk, and I thought I'd share them with you, because both relate to topics I have written about in recent weeks. The first is a Cornell University analysis, published in an article in the June issue of the American Sociological Review, contending that foreclosures "fueled racial segregation in the United States. " The paper, co-authored by Kyle Crowder of the University of Washington and Amy Spring of Georgia State University, acknowledges that nine million American families have lost their homes to foreclosure since the real estate downturn started in 2007.
June 3, 2015
CHARLIE WILSON first came to prominence in the late 1970s as the frontman for the Gap Band, formed by Wilson and his brothers, Robert and Lonnie, in 1967 in their hometown of Tulsa, Okla. The siblings came by their musicality as the sons of a Pentecostal minister who insisted that his children learn to play various instruments. The band originally bore the name Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band, which was subsequently shortened to the G.A.P. Street Band. A printing error on an advertisement for a gig identified the unit as "The Gap Band," and the brothers claimed the name.
June 3, 2015 |
PERHAPS Charlie Wilson should be playing the Powerball lottery these days. After all, the guy is on a hot streak. Recently, Wilson, lead singer of 1970s R&B headliner the Gap Band, and four of his collaborators - including his brother Lonnie (another brother/co-writer, Robert, died in 2010) - settled with DJ/producer Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars and others who had claimed composing credits on Ronson's megahit, "Uptown Funk. " Wilson and his partners (and their legal eagles) successfully argued that the song was a little too similar to the Gap Band's "Oops Upside Your Head.
May 11, 2015 |
For more than a century, medical education in the United States has meant learning how to practice medicine and how to do research to make medicine better. But that could be changing. Given the need for more primary-care physicians, the shortage of certain specialists, and the belief that medical schools boost local economies, 36 institutions have opened across the country in the last 20 years. That growth "has been accompanied by a shift toward new medical-education models where research plays a minimal role," according to a paper published recently in Science Translational Medicine.
March 22, 2015 |
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday that Pennsylvania does the worst job in the nation of funding low-income school districts. "The state of Pennsylvania is 50th, dead last, in terms of the inequality between how wealthy school districts are funded and poor districts," Duncan said. Recent Education Department figures show that the amount spent on each student in Pennsylvania's poorest school districts is 33 percent less than the amount spent on each student in the wealthier districts.
March 15, 2015 |
Pennsylvania has the nation's starkest spending gap between rich and poor school districts, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Friday, and that must be remedied. Statewide, poor districts like Philadelphia spend 33 percent less per student than wealthy districts, the biggest such gap in the country, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. In the poorest quarter of Pennsylvania districts, current expenditures per student - with the exception of most federal funds - are $9,387.