April 23, 2015 |
Pennsylvania's lowest-performing schools could be given an ultimatum - reform quickly, or face relegation to a new, state-run district - under legislation to be introduced soon. The bill, crafted by State Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R., Lancaster), could remake the Philadelphia School District, where most of the struggling schools now reside. Supporters say it has a shot at passage in this legislative session, particularly as a way to partner the increased education funding Gov. Wolf seeks with accountability measures palatable to Republicans.
March 25, 2015 |
IT STARTED exactly 40 years ago in cramped dorm rooms at the State University of New York-Binghamton, a half-dozen guys staying up late to play poker on a drab, rain-soaked campus that didn't even have fraternities. But what started as a poker game morphed into a wider obsession for the card-dealing buddies that included the future Philadelphia suburbanites Joel Greenberg, Jeff Yass and Arthur Dantchik. Its wide, colorful playing field grew to include timeworn horse tracks, the gaming tables of Las Vegas, jai-alai frontons in Florida and finally, improbably, the floor of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.
March 24, 2015 |
Joel Greenberg once donated $1 million to a struggling after-school music program in West Philadelphia, having read about it in the newspaper. The Main Line financial trader didn't bother to return a reporter's call asking why he did so. Greenberg is like that, those who know him say - passionate in his desire to help others, particularly children, and uninterested in self-promotion. "He does not want to be front and center," said Ina B. Lipman, executive director of the Children's Scholarship Fund, another cause that has benefited from Greenberg's largesse.
March 11, 2015 |
Public education funding, already a key issue in the race for mayor of Philadelphia, could eclipse other subjects of debate this year if an anticipated rush of spending by political groups overwhelms the campaign messages of the candidates. "Independent expenditure" groups, working apart from the candidates in the May 19 Democratic primary, could set the agenda for the race. That spending is expected to pay for preelection television commercials. One group now gearing up is American Cities, a political action committee launched by the founders of the investment firm Susquehanna International Group.
February 27, 2015 |
Included in the $12.7 billion that Gov. Christie is proposing to spend on pre-K to grade-12 education is a measure bound to raise hopes as well as eyebrows - a pilot program that would pay for students in failing schools to attend private, religious, or out-of-district public schools. Christie's proposed fiscal 2016 budget calls for $2 million to fund a demonstration model based on the never-passed Opportunity Scholarship Act. Long a supporter of vouchers and other school-choice measures, Christie put a pilot program in his proposed budget two years ago, but it was removed by the Legislature's Democratic majority.
February 12, 2015 |
IMAGINE THIS: A lobbyist from the Chamber of Commerce approaches Mayor Nutter and offers a $10,000 donation to the city if the mayor will veto the upcoming vote requiring city employers to provide sick days. That lobbyist would be arrested and tried in a court of law. When Mark Gleason, executive director of the Philadelphia School Partnership, spoke with School Reform Commission Chairman Bill Green last week and offered a donation of $25 million in exchange for the SRC to approve a number of charter-school applications, what followed was a discussion in the news media about whether he was offering enough.
November 6, 2014 |
YEAH, YEAH, we know. The governor's race is over with a historic outcome, Democrat Tom Wolf becoming the first candidate to unseat an incumbent, sending Gov. Corbett home after one term. Let's talk about what's really important: Today is the first day of the 2015 race for mayor, the first open-seat race since 2007. There are just 6 1/2 months until the May 19 Democratic and Republican primary elections. Here's a rundown of the declared and potential candidates. DEMOCRATS The big names * State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams Status: Could declare any day, since he doesn't have to resign his Senate seat to run for mayor (a big advantage)
October 17, 2014 |
I IMAGINE THAT Aretha Franklin educated many on what respect means and how to spell it. Her 1967 cover of an Otis Redding tune became popular at a time when civil rights in relation to race, class and gender were on the minds of many. She leaves no room for misunderstandings about what she wants. She just spells it out: "R-E-S-P-E-C-T. " No confusion. No metaphor. No nuthin'. "Give me my propers ," she demands. Give it to me. And, as with any good demand, therein also lies a threat: See what happens if you don't.
September 21, 2014 |
A new Philadelphia education group is on the scene. On the airwaves, in print ads, and online, an organization called PhillySchoolChoice.com says it aims to build a coalition of parents to spread the word that charter schools, Catholic schools, and district magnet schools are options for city students. The group is affiliated with Choice Media Inc., an educational-advocacy nonprofit in Hoboken, N.J. On Monday, it began airing 30-second spots on television featuring unnamed city parents talking about how their children have benefited from charter and parochial schools.
September 15, 2014 |
By popular demand, the Department of Dirty Pool, Sneaky Tricks, and Outright Cheating is back in operation at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. It's called the Public/Non-Public Committee. NJSIAA executive director Steve Timko said recent "media reports" about high-profile transfers and a groundswell of grumbling that certain schools are willing to bend or break the rules for athletic advantage have persuaded the organization to get back into the discipline business.