Bill Green Responds to Helen Gym: Honest School Dialogue Requires All the Facts

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From left: Bill Green (Jeff Meade, via Wikimedia Commons) | School District headquarters (Jeff Fusco) | Helen Gym (Alex Hogan, Flickr

In criticizing our decision to begin charging teachers for health benefits and directing the $44 million annual savings to schools, Helen Gym makes an important point: Unless the School Reform Commission is open to and responsive to public input, it cannot meaningfully improve public education in Philadelphia (“SRC’s Contract Move Isn’t About Shared Sacrifice—It’s Looting.”).

I share the value Ms. Gym places on winning “the public trust,” but she considerably weakens her credibility with the sloppiness and bad faith of her attack on the SRC.

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The Inquirer Endorses Nobody for Governor

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speaks at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

And in the 2014 Pennsylvania governor’s race, the Philadelphia Inquirer endorses … nobody. Absolutely nobody.

Readers on Sunday were instead treated to a list comparing and contrasting the major positions of Gov. Tom Corbett and challenger Tom Wolf — something that mostly could and should run in the paper’s news pages — but without any kind of weigh-the-facts-and-make-a-recommendation conclusion at the end of it that you’d expect from the op-ed page of the region’s biggest news operation. (A similar grid ran in Friday’s Daily News.) Instead, we got a column from owner/publisher Gerry Lenfest explaining the effort as a kind of high-minded bit of innovation.

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The PFT Fails Philly’s Students and Teachers

Who is standing up for good teachers and poor children in the School District of Philadelphia? If you guessed “the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers,” you’d be wrong.

That’s why my colleagues and I went into the midst of 3,000 PFT protesters last week to talk about how PFT leaders are keeping millions of dollars from the classroom and have been harming poor children and high-performing teachers for years.

We explained how PFT leaders are blocking education reforms that will dramatically improve the SDP for both educators and kids alike. To say things got heated would be an understatement. Sometimes the truth hurts, but in this case, it could also set Philadelphia free.

Here’s how the PFT hurts good teachers and the city’s neediest children.
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Philly’s 10 Best Pro Athletes on Twitter

References to the Almighty God. Mentions of Jesus Christ. Bible verse citations. Heads up about heading into practice. Vague references to “grinding” and/or “putting in work.” Thanking Uber for the ride. The Twitter lives of many Philadelphia professional athletes can be pretty banal.

But that doesn’t mean all of them are social media dullards. Here, in no particular order, are the 10 Philly jocks who make it a point to bring their best game on Twitter — follow-worthy, all of them.

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On Ottawa Shootings, TV News Got It Wrong. Again.

Police with metal detectors comb the area near the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill, where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was killed by a gunman, in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. A gunman opened fire at the National War Memorial, then moved to nearby Parliament Hill and wounded a security guard before he was shot, reportedly by Parliament's sergeant-at-arms on Wednesday.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Justin Tang)

Police with metal detectors comb the area near the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill, where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, was killed by a gunman, in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. A gunman opened fire at the National War Memorial, then moved to nearby Parliament Hill and wounded a security guard before he was shot, reportedly by Parliament’s sergeant-at-arms on Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Justin Tang)

I was at home watching cable news when the shooting in Ottawa, Canada broke. What followed was the all-too-familiar routine of wall-to-wall coverage on all the cable news channels. I have been on both sides of the screen in these moments of all-hands-on-deck-throw-out-the-rundown-way-too-frenetic-coverage of breaking news stories.
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Can Conservatives and Liberals Be Friends?

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Photo | Shutterstock.com

For nearly seven years now, Ben Boychuk and I have jousted weekly on the pages of many newspapers across the country. We co-write a syndicated political column — I’m the liberal, he’s the conservative, and every week we debate the issue du jour. Ben hates Obamacare, isn’t a fan of gay marriage, has very little nice to say about teachers’ unions, thinks rich people spending money like crazy to influence elections is a great expression of First Amendment values. I think he’s wrong about nearly everything, he thinks the same thing about me, and sometimes the never-ending disagreement can be pretty damned irritating.

Ben is also one of my best friends in the world. I think he’d say the same about me.

It’s not supposed to work that way. We live in terribly polarized times. Liberals and conservatives watch different TV, live in different places, and mostly think the worst of each other.

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Like Him or Not, Nick Foles Is the Eagles’ Quarterback of the Future

Photo | Jeff Fusco.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Here is the definitive report on Nick Foles:

He doesn’t dazzle you in any aspect of the game. Sometimes he looks really good shooting the ball down the field to open crossing receivers. And sometimes he has peculiar moments of uncertainty, heaving balls to the middle of the field off his back foot. Those are the moments that allow fans to drift into negative land with thoughts that Foles may not the quarterback who will lead this franchise to future riches.

But know this: Foles will be the franchise quarterback going forward — because the Eagles really don’t have any other choice.

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Five Real Philly Housewives We Want to See on Bravo

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The strangest thing about “Real Housewives” — after the fact that we watch it, we watch it so hard — is that the franchise never set up shop here since debuting in 2006. For a show that lives and dies by its batshit quotient, you’d think they would have made Philadelphia home years ago.

That, however, might be about to change: As the Daily News’ Jenice Armstrong reports, producer Princess Ann Banton-Lofters — creator of the series’ gold-standard Atlanta version — has been in town scouting, for lack of a better word, talent.

Presumably, Bravo is poking around the Main Line and Rittenhouse for their usual mix of old money, new money and hopefully-results-in-jail-time money.

But that would be a mistake.

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Daryl Metcalfe’s Bad Religion

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Let’s give this to Daryl Metcalfe: If you wanted to create a religious-right bogeyman that almost perfectly fit the fevered nightmares of liberals, he’d pretty closely fit the bill.

Metcalfe is the Pennsylvania Republican probably best known for silencing openly gay Rep. Brian Sims on the House floor last year because Sims’ comments in favor of gay marriage would’ve been “against God’s law.”

“I’m a Christian,” Metcalfe said at the time. “Based on the command of Jesus Christ, of Almighty God, I love my fellow man. I work to protect their liberties.”

Unless, of course, his fellow man is an immigrant. Or somebody trying to help an immigrant. Or, worse yet, someone trying to help an immigrant child. Then Metcalfe’s love somehow disappears.

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