Philly Schools Are Better Than Detroit’s (And Fresno’s)

The good news is that public schools in Philadelphia seem to be doing better than those in Detroit.

And Fresno, too.

Philly was one of 18 cities to voluntarily participate in the
Trial Urban District Assessment, a special administration of the
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test.  It’s average score for fourth graders was 222 compared with
239 for the national average and 244 for Pennsylvania fourth graders
who take the NAEP exam annually, and 265 for eighth graders compared
with 282 for the national average and 288 for Pennsylvania.

Here’s a link to the NAEP results.

Before you write off Philly schools as failures remember that their purpose is not to provide an education for children but to provide jobs for Democrats.

The district is a resounding success.

Dawn Stensland For Congress?

Chris Freind  is reporting that former Fox29 anchor Dawn Stensland is considering a run for Congress as a Republican in the 7th District — the seat which Joe Sestak is leaving in an attempt to unseat fellow Democrat  Senator Arlen Specter.

Ms. Stensland, the wife of former KYW-TV anchor Larry Mendte, would face in the primary party-endorsed Pat Meehan, the well-regarded former Delaware County District Attorney, who became a well-regarded federal prosecutor.

Nothing official and nothing on paper, but still fun to talk about.

Retired Congressman Says Dump Pa. Turnpike Commission

John E. Peterson, who represented Pennsylvania’s 5th District in Congress from 1997 until his retirement in 2009, is saying dump the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Before winning election to Congress, Peterson held the state Senate seat for the 25th District which  along the New York border in the center of the state.

“I served in the State Senate for 12 years and saw firsthand howthe Turnpike Commission is the Senate’s patronage pit.  It is a cauldron of corruption,” said Peterson.

Well said, Congressman. You can also point out to those concerned about energy conservation or greenhouse gas emissions that toll plaza traffic snarls don’t help things.

This morning, btw, five Republican state representatives filed a bill abolish the Turnpike Commission. HB 2134 would transfer the transfer its assets and functions to PennDOT.

And did you know that the Turnpike was designed so that the straightaways could be negotiated at 102 mph and the curves at 90?


Pa. House Gives OK To Searchable Database On Spending

The Pennsylvania House, today,  voted to create a searchable online database regarding state spending.  The vote to pass HB 1880 to  establish the operation of the Pennsylvania Government Accountability Portal, or “PennGAP, was unanimous.

Gov. X-Man Rendell is reportedly against the bill citing cost.

The Commonwealth Foundation estimates the cost to operate such a website at $160,000.

How To Find Dollars In Tough Times

The Neshaminy School District is saying it could save nearly $9 million over three years by outsourcing janitorial services. Similiar savings could be found in most school districts.

The Commonwealth Foundation notes that state entities can save $70 million over three years switching to online public notices rather than mandated legal advertising, and HB1757 was introduced in July 2009 by State Rep. Tom Creighton to do just that .

And of course forbidding strikes by public school teachers and transit workers would see major cost savings in those areas — certainly teacher salaries would stop rising 3 and 4 percent per year as they have for the last 3 decades and this of course would mean the home tax levied by your school district would not keep rising $200 to $300 per year.

The owner of a home assessed at $200,000 in at the turn of the millennium would have paid $3,134 to the Springfield School District (Pa.). This year, he would have paid $5,240.

If the tax rate simply matched inflation, however, the bill would have been $3,934. I could use that extra $1,300. And I could have used the extra $900 or so — the difference between a tax bill according to inflation vs. the one that was  — last year.  And I could have used the difference in the previous year and the previous year etc.

Just some things to think about in tough economic times.

Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Award Winner Dies Of Swine Flu

Liza Northrop Beale, the general manager of The Almanac, a weekly newspaper in Washington, Pa. died Saturday of complications related to the H1N1 virus. She was 49 and lived in Peters Township which is suburban Pittsburgh.

Mrs. Beale won a first-place 2009 Keystone Press Award from the Pennsylvania NewspaperAssociation for niche publication production, along with top honors for weekly editorial writing.

She was also the editor of Southpointe Today and Suburban Living.

She is survived by her husband, William.

Anti-Mullah Protests Draw Tens of Thousands

Not sure you’ll be seeing this on the evening news (or in tomorrow’s Inquirer) but protests have broken out today across Iran against the ruling mullahs. They reportedly involve tens of thousands of people. Anti-Mullah Protests Draw Tens of Thousands

Twitter feeds show the crowd is unbowed despite beatings, tear gas and gunfire.

“Our Nation is Awake it Despises Dictatorship” says GreenRebelion. Green in this case is the color of the revolution and has nothing to do with environmentalism.

I don’t know about other cities but Tehran is Green today,” said Manic77, who also noted “Students chanted anti Coup until midnight in Tehran Uni dormitories”

The patriotic freedom-lovers are also placing videos on YouTube for the world to see and the dinosaur propagandists to ignore.

Anti-Mullah Protests Draw Tens of Thousands

SEPTA Workers Watch Your Pensions

During the SEPTA strike I sympathized with Transport Workers Union Local 234 chief Willie Brown’s late demand for a forensic audit of the organization’s pension fund — a demand which eventually disappeared from the table.

Well, the Commonwealth Foundation is reporting that SEPTA’s two largest pension fund (SAM and City Transit) were funded at 71% and 61% of accrued liabilities – underfunded even by government standards – as of June 2007, which is, of course, before the massive decline in the market which hit all pension plans hard.

So SEPTA workers fear for your retirements. Taxpayers fear for your wallets.

Barney Frank Expected To Endorse Sestak

Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) is expected to endorse  Joe “In The Navy” Sestak, Monday, in his bid to unseat fellow Democrat Arlen Specter as senator from Pennsylvania, according to The Hill.

Sestak is not seeking re-election to his 7th District congressional seat.

The latest polls have Specter up by at least 4 points in the race which will be decided May 18. The winner will face Republican Pat Toomey.

So, Who Attacked The South Philly Asians?

This CBS3.Com story describing how Asian kids are the subject of race-based attacks at South Philadelphia High School — the alma mater of Mario Lanza, Al Martino and Larry Fine — is going around the word via a link to the Drudge Report and what is glaringly unclear in it?

No where does is it  spelled out who exactly are the racist anti-Asian attackers.

The story quotes one unidentified student as saying “It was blacks and whites and they saw the Asians at the school, it all started with an argument.”

Well, that certainly explains it.

South Philly High, for the record, is 66 percent black, 19 percent Asian, 10 percent white and 5 percent Hispanic.

One wouldn’t think that rednecks in pickups are behind this.

And today’s  Philadelphia Inquirer confirms this in  a long story regarding the matter on the front of today’s B section in which, in the seventh paragraph, they courageously, for them I suppose, mention “fights” between African American and Asian students.

Attacks, assaults, racist bullying or ethnic intimidation were not used to describe the turmoil but “fights”.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a wonderful dream of a color-blind society and in order for this dream to come true black racism and black ethnic intimidation is going to have to be just as intolerable and treated just as harshly as that of whites.

This means it must be condemned without any qualification or hesitation by church leaders, by politicians, by the dinosaur media and by the blacks themselves, most of whom are rather decent people.