This week, Princeton Review released its annual Most LGBT-Friendly Schools list. There weren’t too many surprises. Private, liberal stalwarts make the top three: Stanford in California, Oberlin in Ohio, and Emerson in Boston. There was one thing that caught my eye, though: UPenn didn’t make it.
Oxford Mills, billed as an “urban oasis for teachers and nonprofits,” held its grand opening last week in South Kensington, another step in revitalizing the neighborhood. Oxford Mills was once a dye works factory. It was later abandoned and has now been transformed into a hub for Philadelphia’s education community. The project is a mixed-use real estate development designed to provide low-cost housing for teachers as well as commercial space for educational nonprofits.
Paul Kihn, deputy superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, told the guests, “Oxford will be a great place for teachers to bond with other like-minded teachers, discuss curriculum, vent about their day, prepare for the future, and relax. … A development such as Oxford Mills will help attract good teachers to the city as well as retain the ones we already have.”
Oxford Mills was developed by Gabe Canuso and Greg Hill, D3 Real Estate Development, and a Baltimore company, Seawall Development Company, who had created a similar project called Miller’s Court in Baltimore. The complex has 114 apartments, with half of them earmarked for teachers who will rent them at a 25 percent discount. The retail includes Artwell, Education Plus, Interfaith Center for Greater Philadelphia, Teach for America, Grace and Glory Yoga, and Gryphon Coffee Company, which are available to the residents as well as the neighborhood.
Gov. Corbett may not be able to adequately fund education in the state of Pennsylvania, but at least he’s got a pithy new aphorism explaining why that’s the case:
— Team GT (@GT_TeamGT) June 28, 2014
“You can’t spend what you don’t have.” Sounds good. Sounds noble. Sounds commonsensical. It does an amazing thing: It makes a virtue of accepting decline, of living within one’s limited resources, and if Pennsylvania has to watch its schools fire teachers and counselors and school nurses, well, that’s too bad, because … you can’t spend what you don’t have.
Here’s a better — more apt — saying:
“You eat what you kill.”
The state’s current plans for funding K-12 education are “unacceptable,” State Sen. Vincent Hughes said Friday in a letter to Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission.
The letter came a day after the Pennsylvania House passed its version of the budget that includes $70 million in funding increases, but omits many millions more that had been sought by Gov. Tom Corbett before the manifestation of a $1.5 billion budget deficit.
“Simply put, the level of education funding in the budget passed by the State House is unacceptable,” Hughes, a Philly Democrat, said in the letter addressed to SRC Chairman Bill Green. “We all know that our teachers, parents, and students are already operating in a very difficult environment and the budget passed by the State House will only make matters worse. ”
The Neshaminy School Board of Directors is ready to pass a policy that would ban the student newspaper editors at Neshaminy High School from banning the use of the school’s mascot — the “Redskins” — within the paper itself.
Advocates of that stance say the newspaper’s editors shouldn’t be able to impose their preferences on, say, students who want to write letters to the editor that include the term.
“Assuming that it’s a proper use of the word, such as a reference to the mascot, the school district does not believe, and I don’t believe the law allows, one set of students to prohibit another student from expressing himself or herself,” said Michael Levin, who serves as special counsel to the district.
The school year ends this week, which makes it as good a time as any to offer this announcement: I’m really glad my son attended a Philadelphia Public School this year.
Scratch that, and let’s start over: I’m really glad my son attended a specific Philadelphia Public School this year — Greenfield Elementary School in Center City. Greenfield often ends up on the list of the city’s best public schools; it’s why my family stayed in our tiny little Fitler Square basement apartment when we’d otherwise have moved long ago — to give our son the best possible chance at a good and affordable education in the city.
And he got it: T started out with some challenges — his late summer birthday made him probably the youngest student in the school, with maturity to match. That didn’t make for an easy start to the school year. But a persistent tough-love approach from his teacher (something we tried to reinforce at home) helped get him in shape: By the end of this year he was grading well on the social aspects of school — and as for the academic aspects, well, all I know is this: My son is now reading books, at the end of kindergarten, that I didn’t get to until I was in second grade. And I was a good reader!
As a product of Catholic school education, it’s hard for me to imagine a world where good penmanship doesn’t matter. In fact, I still remember a day in sixth grade when I was instructed to re-write a cursive letter “D”’again and again because I opted to put my own personal flare on the old-fashioned stencil. Aside from the personal trauma that comes with overzealous instruction from ladies dressed in habits, there’s a different kind of psychology associated with handwriting, according to a piece in the Times.
“Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information,”the story goes. “In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.”
“Haverford College on Tuesday joined a growing list of schools to lose commencement speakers to protests from the left, when Robert J. Birgeneau, a former chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, withdrew from this weekend’s event,” the New York Times reports. “Some students and faculty members at Haverford, a liberal arts college near Philadelphia, objected to the invitation to Mr. Birgeneau to speak and receive an honorary degree because, under him, the University of California police used batons to break up an Occupy protest in 2011. He first stated his support for the police, and then a few days later, saying that he was disturbed by videos of the confrontation, ordered an investigation.”
This follows Condi Rice‘s abdication of a graduate speaking slot at Rutgers following an outcry there, as well as this week’s petition at Rowan to keep Gov. Chris Christie from speaking there. At this pace, we’re an estimated three days away from no college ever having a graduation speaker ever again.
Inside Higher Ed reports that Community College of Philadelphia has hired Donald Generals Jr. as its new president, despite concerns from college faculty: Generals previously served as provost of the for-profit Katharine Gibbs School of New York, which closed in 2008 after accusations it misled students.