Many More Philly Students Are Opting Out of State Exams

It would appear the opt-out movement has momentum: Philadelphia School District officials said this week that the families of 486 students in grades 3 through 8 have asked to be excused from taking standardized tests — a dramatic increase over the mere 20 who opted out last year.

That growth is “remarkable,” said Kelley Collings, a teacher and activist with the Caucus of Working Educators who has helped lead efforts to encourage Philadelphia parents to opt their children out of standardized tests.

“The numbers are still growing,” she said via email. “As more parents and students understand they have the right to opt out, word is spreading.” Read more »

Cowboys Fan Chris Christie Says He’ll Beat Hillary Clinton. In Pennsylvania.

clinton - christie

Chris Christie isn’t even a declared presidential candidate — yet — but he’s already got some fighting words ready for Hillary Clinton.

“If I run, I will beat her,” Christie told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.

Hewitt, sensibly, asked which “blue” states Christie might win back from Democrats to make that happen. Christie’s first answer was automatic: Pennsylvania. The Keystone State has watched him govern New Jersey for more than five years, he said, and is comfortable with his style.

“If I were to run, I think Pennsylvania is a state that is very much in play,” Christie told Hewitt.

Maybe. But the evidence suggests that Clinton already has a head start on Christie in Pennsylvania. Read more »

Pa. Senate Tries to Stop Philly Sick Leave Law

The Pennsylvania Senate has passed a bill to pre-empt and undo Philly’s new law requiring most employers provide paid sick leave to their employees.

KYW Radio:

The state Senate has sent the House a bill that would overturn Philadelphia’s new law, set to take effect next month, that would require business owners with at least ten employees to allow workers to earn paid sick leave.

Philadelphia Democrat Vincent Hughes led the unsuccessful effort to derail the Senate bill.

“It denies the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the opportunity to govern themselves, even though they went through a very deliberative process.”

Read more »

I Can’t Get On Board the Hillary Clinton Bandwagon. Yet.

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns for Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, during a rally at the University of Maryland, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in College Park, Md.

Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns for Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, during a rally at the University of Maryland, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in College Park, Md.

Man, I wish I could jump on board the Hillary Clinton bandwagon.

I’d love to be rooting for the First Woman President right now. I’d love to reward a career spent largely in public service. And I’d love to not risk being even tenuously associated with all the sexist d-bags and Clinton Conspiracymongers who are already coming out of the woodwork, again — not that they ever really went away.  Read more »

Chris Christie: Cut Social Security for the Rich


Chris Christie says he wants to eliminate Social Security benefits for high-income earners, the Wall Street Journal reports.

MANCHESTER, N.H.—Gov. Chris Christie called for reduced Social Security benefits for seniors earning over $80,000 and eliminating the benefit entirely for individuals making $200,000 and up, along with raising the retirement age to 69 from 67.

“Social Security at its core should be retirement insurance,” Mr. Christie said during his speech before roughly 120 people. “The wealthiest of us don’t need these benefits.”

Time adds:

“Washington is afraid to have an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with the people of our country,” Christie will say in a speech at New Hampshire’s St. Anselm College Institute of Politics. “I am not.”

The idea could have some appeal — hey, why should Warren Buffett collect a Social Security check when he’s already super-rich? — but three reasons why Christie’s effort might not work all that well: Read more »

(Update) Nutter Offers $20K Reward in Hit-and-Run


[Update 12:35 p.m.] Police have released video from the incident. It does not show the precise moment of impact, but be warned it may still be difficult to watch:

To submit a tip, call 215.686.TIPS (8477) or send a text to PPD TIP or 773847.

[Original] Mayor Nutter is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a driver whose SUV struck and killed a 4-year-old boy Monday night in Southwest Philly. Read more »

Should Philly Bars Stay Open Till 4 a.m.?

Is the way to the hearts of Philadelphia millennials through their alcohol-soaked livers?

Rep. Jordan Harris thinks so — the Philly Democrat this week said he would introduce a bill that would let Pennsylvania bars apply to stay open until 4 a.m., an extra two hours beyond the current mandated close of business. He’s pitching the proposal as a bit of economic development aimed at keeping young millennials happy and in Philadelphia after they graduate.

“Philadelphia especially has lagged behind other major cities within a short radius as far as nightlife is concerned,” Harris said in a statement announcing his proposal, “and this bill would put our city on par with some of the largest cities in the country as far as having a healthy, vibrant nightlife.” Read more »

The Price of Joe Paterno’s Reputation? About $13,500 Per Win

 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Let’s be fair here: Given the expense of big-time college athletics, it probably cost way more than $13,500 apiece for Penn State to earn each of the 111 victories that were eventually erased from Joe Paterno‘s record following the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

But the legal bills for the fight to restore those victories have come due, and PennLive reports today the final tally amounts to about $1.5 million — or, roughly, the aforementioned $13,500 per restored victory. Read more »

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