Education, convention and liquor legislation
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of education news to go around.
Educators in Erie visited the state capitol in early June, but this was no field trip. They were protesting a funding gap so severe, the district is considering closing all of the high schools and busing students to the suburbs.
Superintendent Jay Badams says this is a matter of fairness: “If our students would need to attend schools in other districts to have some sort of equity, then that may end up being the most ethical and moral decision.”
In Lancaster, the ACLU is arguing that the school district isn’t treating refugees fairly in a recently filed lawsuit. The school district is delaying school placement and funneling older refugees into an alternative academy, according to the complaint. The school district says they’ve done nothing wrong and are complying fully with the law.
Meanwhile, the Allentown Morning Call reports that the Lehigh Valley is adapting to the arrival of another group of immigrants, namely Latinos. While cities like Allentown and Bethlehem have been developing ESL and immigrant support networks for years, more suburban districts are starting to get involved as well.
No matter where they come from, most students would agree on one thing: fewer tests. Lancaster Online writes about a group in Pennsylvania that’s pushing to minimize the number of standardized tests students take each year, in favor of better measures of success.
The DNC is coming! The DNC is coming! The RNC already came and went, meaning all eyes are on Philadelphia now. Good thing it’s not the first time the city has hosted a major event like this. Just last summer, the Pope visited, and in 2000, the RNC came to town. (Also, you know, the constitutional convention, #TBT)
But excitement is still running high. If you’re a local, get ready for some crazy traffic and some crazy political celebrity spotting. (With a third of their rail cars out of commission and a lot of tourists in town, this might be a good time for SEPTA to try out some real-time delay notifications.)
If you live in another part of Pennsylvania, you’ll have to watch on television like the other 49 states, but you won’t be stuck on the Schuylkill Expressway for the rest of your life. It’s a win-win!
Most people around the city consider it an honor to host one of two national conventions. But CityLab asks the real question: Is hosting a convention a boon for the mayor or the city? In short, nah, not really. But it definitely attracts a lot of attention, which The New York Times says can be a good thing (highlight your city’s success!) or a bad thing (all eyes on those blighted buildings.) Either way, Philadelphia is giving the city a good scrub beforehand just to be on the safe side.
Loosening liquor laws
You may have heard that Pennsylvania is beginning to loosen up when it comes to selling beer, wine, and liquor. The Liquor Control Board is calling it the biggest liquor extension since Prohibition, and they are anxiously preparing for the roll out.
Beginning Aug. 8, liquor stores will be able to be open unrestricted hours on Sundays and on holidays. And grocery stores that sell beer can now add wine to their shelves.
A surge of restaurant liquor licenses will also be entering the market, allowing more venues to move from BYOB to WPTL — We’ll Provide The Liquor. (That’s not a real acronym, FYI.) In State College, locally owned businesses hope that will give them a chance to flourish downtown.