In case you missed it: This week’s best reads from Pa. cities

     A school group walks by the 22-foot-tall Douglas Fir that stands in the Pennsylvania Capitol Rotunda as part of the annual Christmas decorations around the building. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

    A school group walks by the 22-foot-tall Douglas Fir that stands in the Pennsylvania Capitol Rotunda as part of the annual Christmas decorations around the building. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

    All anybody wants is good health, good schools and good housing. 

    Here’s to your health

    Health care is a controversial topic these days, as Republicans work to repeal Obamacare. It’s not clear what will replace it, which has left many subsidized health care recipients with more questions than answers. 

    In at least one regard, Obamacare is working: Pennsylvania has continued to see a decline in the numbers of uninsured people, from 13 percent in 2013 to nine percent in 2015. Last week, a group of Obamacare supporters gathered to let Senator Pat Toomey know how the program had helped them afford health care

    One couple in rural Schuylkill County shows the dilemma many Republicans find themselves in as they fight for repeal and hope for better coverage at the same time. 

    Here’s to a home for the holidays

    Gentrification is a complicated issue, with middle class residents moving back to the city and lower-income residents sometimes getting pushed out as their neighborhood becomes more desirable. A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that gentrification is (still) happening in Philadelphia. 

    Based on a documentary from 1941, urban housing challenges are nothing new for the city. “A Place to Live” was based on an affordable housing survey done by the Philadelphia Housing Association, and the documentary was nominated for an Oscar! 

    Pittsburgh is trying to improve access to affordable housing, with some success. Residents have created a tenants union to advocate for the rights of renters and an affordable housing trust fund. The trust fund has a goal of raising $10 million, but much like my trust fund, currently sits empty. 

    Here’s to school being out for the holidays

    But there are still education issues in play.

    For one, the rising cost of cyber charter tuition continues to beleaguer Pennsylvania school districts.

    For another, community college costs are straining students seeking associates degrees. In some places, like Chicago and Tennessee, community college is free. But in Pennsylvania, they’re still hoping to restore basic state funding. 

    And some school districts are grappling with how to handle students with special needs. If you center them all in one school with more resources, how does that impact the other students in that school? 

    Philadelphia’s attempt to get universal pre-K funded through a tax on soda and sugary drinks cleared another hurdle this week. A lawsuit issued by the American Beverage Association was struck down by a judge. 

    Last week, we took a deep dive into the school system in Ontario, Canada and how it compares to Pennsylvania. In a conclusion to that series, we took the question back to Pennsylvanians to see how they felt about the comparison. 

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