Local Schools Make Newsweek List of Top 500 in Nation

Newsweek just released its latest list of the Top 500 high schools in the nation, along with a new “Beating the Odds” list of schools that do a good job of preparing students for college while “overcoming the obstacles posed by students at an economic disadvantage.” Five local schools made the latter list: Charter School of Wilmington, 85th, Lower Merion High School, ranked 167th; Wissahickon Senior High School, 284th, and Multicultural Charter School, 289th, and Franklin Learning Center, 306th, both of which are in Philadelphia. Wilmington, Lower Merion and Wissahickon each earned a special “star” indicating that they help low-income students score at or above average on state assessments.

Local schools appearing on the general Top 500 High Schools list are:  Read more »

The Best-Paid Local Public College Presidents Are …

Nittany Lion | Shutterstock.com. University of Delaware Blue Hen | Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Nittany Lion | Shutterstock.com. University of Delaware Blue Hen | Aspen Photo / Shutterstock.com

Two local (sort of) institutions have presidents who were among the top 10 highest-paid presidents of public universities, according to data from the Chronicle of Higher Education. This week, Time compared that data to Money magazine’s new list of “schools that provide the most value for your tuition dollar.”

Number seven on the Chronicle‘s Top 10 list is Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware, who received total compensation of $800,156 for the 2013-’14 school year. Money magazine ranks UD 65th on its “best value” list.

And the highest-paid public university president in the country during that time period? Ex-Penn State prez Rodney A. Erickson, whose total compensation for the final year of his tenure (he stepped down at the end of the 2013-’14 school year) was $1,494,603 — though that figure includes the value of a university-sponsored life insurance package that was discontinued that year and thus transferred to him. (Not for nothing, though, Eric Barron, who replaced him as Penn State president, was hired at a higher base salary, $800,000, than Erickson’s, $633,336.)  Read more »

10 Great Places to Put Papal Pilgrims in Philadelphia

papal-pilgrims-940x540

So, now we know the plan. And despite assurances from Mayor Nutter and officials involved with overseeing the World Meeting of Families in September, any true Philadelphian has already concluded: It’s gonna be a shitshow in this town for the Pope’s visit. With incoming cars and buses restricted from something the Mayor’s calling a freaking “traffic box” — and Interstates 76 and 676 and Route 1 closed in the area — once public transportation goes on lockdown, if you’re not already on the Parkway, you’re probably not going to get there. Hell, suburbs are declaring states of emergency.

What’s worse, there are only 35,000 hotel rooms in the region. Where will we put our other 1,965,000 guests? Rentals will help, sure. And there’s been discussion of opening the city’s parks to camping, but why stop at parks? The news that a church group from New Jersey plans to bunk down at the Philadelphia Zoo for Pope Francis’s visit (and pay just $120 for their bus ride plus lodging on the floors of the bird and — brrr — insect houses) got us thinking: Where else might we put papal pilgrims up within walking distance of the festivities? And guess what? Turns out we’ve got tons of lovely space that’s just going to waste. Here’s how the city can squeeze in — by our best guess — another quarter-million guests.  Read more »

The Top Party School in Pennsylvania Is … Who?!?

Yesterday the Princeton Review released its new 2015 list of the “Top Party Schools” in the nation, and certain parties Are. Not. Happy. In particular, there’s Bucknell University, a tiny (3,600 undergrads) school in will-o’-the-wisp Lewisburg, PA, (population 6,000), nestled along the Susquehanna River. On this year’s list, Bucknell sits in the number four slot, behind only the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (number one), the University of Iowa (number two) and the University of Wisconsin (number three, duh), all of which have, oh, hey, say, 10 times as many students as Bucknell. Read more »

Pennsylvania Has a Ton of Student Debt

The personal-finance website WalletHub has compiled a list of the best and worst states in terms of student debt, which is now the largest component of Americans’ household debt except for mortgages — a grand total of $1.9 trillion at the moment. Data used to calculate the best and worst include average student debt, the unemployment rate for residents ages 25 to 34, student debt as a percentage of household income, and the percent of residents with past-due loan balances, among other factors.

Pennsylvania, which tied with North Carolina at number 32 on a list running from best (Utah) to worst (Mississippi), doesn’t look so bad at first blush. Read more »

Cheyney University Is Down to One Math Major

cheyney-940x540The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that enrollment at Cheyney University, the only HBCU institution among the 14 state-owned universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, is in both financial and enrollment dire straits. The Delaware County school, half of whose students come from Philadelphia, is on its third line of credit from the SSHE, for $6.5 million, and the federal government is examining whether Cheyney misused or misdirected federal student aid. The school, the nation’s oldest African-American institution of higher learning, has had nine different presidents in the past 14 years. But most alarming? Read more »

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