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

     Michelle Andrews helps her son, Gabriel, into the house after playing in the backyard. She is one of three women Keystone Crossroads' reporter Marielle Segarra followed for the story, “At Allentown’s Turner Street program, insight into what homeless families need.” Listen here: http://bit.ly/2dRsU4A (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Michelle Andrews helps her son, Gabriel, into the house after playing in the backyard. She is one of three women Keystone Crossroads' reporter Marielle Segarra followed for the story, “At Allentown’s Turner Street program, insight into what homeless families need.” Listen here: http://bit.ly/2dRsU4A (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

    Education funding, race relations and poverty. Plus, Tina Fey!

    Get educated on education

    The discussion around education funding, old models, new models, fair funding, hold harmless, etc, can feel a little hypothetical. So we made a handy map that shows just how your district would be affected if the new funding model was rolled out more quickly. 

    That’s for public schools. If you’d rather go the private route, Pennsylvania Republicans have been touting the benefits of expanding private school tax credits. But many experts aren’t sold. 

    This week, we are also highlighting two stories reflecting on the history of desegregation of schools. PublicSource looks at how the Woodland Hills school district is doing 35 years after it was created as the result of a desegregation order. NPR’s Audie Cornish looks back at her own participation in Boston’s busing program that took her out of the city and into a better performing, mostly-white school.

    Real stories of real struggle

    The election draws ever nearer (and yet, somehow, still not here. This is the longest October ever.) As the candidates stump in swing states like Pennsylvania, are they talking about issues that matter to real people struggling to get by?

    WHYY’s series Working and Poor reports on the experiences of those in poverty and those who are drowning in the cost of childcare. Philadelphia magazine considers the city’s enduring generational poverty issue. 

    Meanwhile, in Erie, one group has seen poverty increase more than any other: black women with children. GoErie reports that many of these women work full-time in minimum wage jobs but have no safety net and often seek out services to make ends meet. 

    What kind of help do poor people need to get back on their feet?

    That’s a question the federal government has long struggled to answer. For a while, it funded transitional housing programs like Turner Street, in Allentown, but now, that money is in jeapordy as they consider new models. For eight months, Keystone Crossroads’ Marielle Segarra followed three women in one of these transitional housing programs to see just how well the programs work. 

    Grapple goes west

    This week’s episode of Grapple takes you to Clairton, a western Pennsylvania city that is, technically, no longer distressed. The city shed it’s Act 47 status last year, but it turns out, that distinction isn’t everything. Now, the real work of recovery begins. 

    But the city’s history is strong and hometown pride is still there.

    Longtime Atlantic writers  James and Deborah Fallows say that pride can go a long way towards buoying up a place. And they would know — the couple has spent the last three years flying around America in a prop plane, visiting and studying cities in transition. Hear their observations of how cities can improve on Episode 8 of Grapple. 

    Different languages, different races, same challenges

    A lot of Pennsylvania cities were grappling with issues of race and ethnicity this week.

    How diverse is Pittsburgh, really? PublicSource finds out. How much does the immigration issue still haunt Hazleton? The New York Times went there. As did we, last year.

    Reading held a forum on race relations and community policing. West York is trying to oust it’s mayor for racist Facebook posts. Bethlehem wants every student to learn Spanish, starting in kindergarten.  

    Allentown is debating the merits of bilingual street signs on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. One city councilman thinks “Calle Siete” street signs would honor the contributions of the city’s Hispanic residents — a demographic that makes up half of all residents.

    Tina Fey > Jimmy Fallon

    In 2008, Tina Fey was on Saturday Night Live playing VP nom Sarah Palin. This year, she’s been downgraded (or upgraded, depending on who you ask) to “suburban Philly voter” who brings the Weekend Update hosts hoagies and lots of opinions. Unfortunately, she was joined by Jimmy Fallon who needed to brush up on his Philly accent. Mayor Jim Kenney was not pleased by the performance.  

     

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