Penn State Students to Tom Wolf: Help End “Epidemic” of Campus Sex Assault


They’ve called out the mighty Penn State administration. They’ve organized rallies in support of women who were allegedly pictured nude and unconscious on websites run by the school’s Kappa Delta Rho chapter. And now, they’re knocking on Gov. Tom Wolf‘s door.

Penn State senior Lauren Lewis and alumnus Josephine Rose met Friday with John Hanger, Wolf’s secretary of policy and planning, to urge the him “to do everything possible within his authority to ensure that campus sexual assault survivors are supported and protected.”

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Selfie Sex-Ed: Should High Schools Teach Sexting Risks?


According to a long-term study by researchers at the University of Texas, sexting may actually be a normal part of sexual development among teens.

As provocative as that sounds, I think it’s probably true. And — as exaggerated and semi-Puritan as this sounds — it’s also true that sexting can completely ruin a teenager’s life.

A girl who shares an intimate photo with her boyfriend can be charged with a summary offense in Pennsylvania. He can face charges for having the images, too.  Read more »

The Brief: Are the Mayoral Candidates’ School Plans “Bogus”?

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke | AP

1. Mayor Michael Nutter said the candidates running to replace him have proposed “bogus” school funding plans.

The gist: Nutter made the attack while touring a city school with Gov. Tom Wolf last week. He said, according to the Inquirer, “You cannot run around this school, shake hands with students, take pictures, read to second graders, talk to middle schoolers, inspire high school students, and then when you’re back at your office comfortably not put forward the money that they need to educate their students. Let’s cut the phoniness. Let’s be serious about educating kids.”

The six Democratic mayoral candidates oppose Nutter’s proposal to raise an extra $105 million for the city’s schools by increasing property taxes by 9 percent. They’ve offered other plans to boost funding, such as hiking the liquor-by-the-drink tax and selling tax liens.

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Darrell Clarke: Fund Philly Schools By Cracking Down on Tax Deadbeats

Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr

Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr

A Philadelphia lawmaker has a plan to fund the city’s schools and crack down on tax deadbeats at the same time.

City Council President Darrell Clarke introduced a bill Thursday that would expand the local government’s ability to sell liens on commercial properties.

He says it could raise “millions of dollars” annually for Philadelphia’s schools. He did not provide a more specific figure.

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Jim Kenney’s Complicated History with School Vouchers

Photo Credit | Matt Rourke, AP

The Philadelphia teachers union announced last month that it is backing former City Councilman Jim Kenney in the mayor’s race.

“His years of consistent support for traditional public schools and educators, and his vision for a better Philadelphia for every child make him the clear choice,” said Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Nearly 20 years ago, though, Kenney would likely have had a hard time wooing the PFT. In 1996, the young Democratic Councilman wanted to strike a deal with then-Republican Gov. Tom Ridge to obtain more funding for the city’s schools in exchange for something that is anathema to teachers unions: a voucher system, which would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to pay for tuition at private and parochial schools.

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Council to Nutter: Find Your $105 Million Somewhere Else

Philadelphia City Council  | Photo Credit: City Council's Flickr page

Philadelphia City Council | Photo Credit: City Council’s Flickr page

Close, but no cigar, Mayor Michael Nutter.

That was the general message from Council members at their hearing Tuesday on Nutter’s five-year fiscal plan, the first budget hearing of the season.

Lawmakers said they expect to provide additional money to the city’s cash-starved school district, but not in the way the mayor has suggested. In response to a request from school officials for an extra $103 million, Nutter has proposed raising property taxes by 9 percent in order to send slightly more than that, $105 million, to the district.

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10 Charts That Show Philly’s Outlook Is More Precarious Than Philadelphians Think

Philadelphians have a giant crush on Philly, according to poll results released last week by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Forty-eight percent of residents surveyed believe the city is moving in the right direction, the highest amount since Pew started asking the question six years ago.

But like any serious crush, Philadelphians’ view of the city is somewhat idealized.

Pew’s new “State of the City” report found Philly continues to face major, entrenched problems, ranging from a sky-high poverty rate to an underfunded government pension system. As the paper puts it, “The realities of the city—as embodied by the often unforgiving numbers—are complex and nuanced, with seemingly a negative for every positive and vice versa.”

Here are 10 graphs from the Pew report that show the city’s outlook is much more of a mixed bag than Philadelphians think:

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Women Come Forward in Facebook Frat Scandal


Women who say they were pictured on the secret Facebook page maintained by a Penn State fraternity have come forward to talk to investigators, officials say.

“Some female Penn State students have been interviewed by State College police, and a few were able to identify themselves from screen shots taken from the Kappa Delta Rho Facebook page, Lt. Keith Robb said,” the Centre Daily Times reports. “Members of the fraternity have also stepped forward and are assisting with the investigation, he said.” Read more »

Tony Williams Is Finally Starting to Own School Choice

Photo Credit: AP/Matt Rourke

Photo Credit: AP/Matt Rourke

For years, mayoral candidate and state Sen. Anthony Williams has been Pennsylvania’s highest-profile Democratic champion of charter schools and vouchers. When he ran for governor in 2010, he received a whopping $6 million-plus from three multimillionaires who back school choice. He’s sponsored voucher legislation. He founded a charter school. Williams has arguably been more passionated about school choice than any other policy question he’s wrestled with in his career.

But not on the mayoral campaign trail.

His first TV ad doesn’t mention school choice once. His education policy paper doesn’t say anything about vouchers, and though it touches on charters, it mostly focuses on reinstating charter reimbursement funding from Harrisburg. At a press conference earlier this month, Williams said it was “curious” that he had been dubbed the charter-school advocate in the mayor’s race, since his contenders had expressed support for charters, too.

It’s led to quite a bit of speculation: Is he keeping quiet because he’s the presumed frontrunner, and it’s simply a good strategy to lay low as your contenders tear each other apart? Do the polls show school choice is unpopular among Williams’ base? Are Williams’ true motives — maybe, just maybe, turning the entire School District of Philadelphia over to charter operators — too extreme to discuss with voters? (FWIW, when we asked Williams to clarify whether there is any truth to the rumors that he wants to fully charter-ize the district, he said, “I don’t know where they got that.”)

Perhaps the answer is “none of the above,” because at a mayoral forum Tuesday, Williams finally … kind of, sort of … began to own the issue of school choice.

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