News & Brews September 15, 2023

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The ‘new reality’ of ‘shrinking’ public school enrollment

Pennsylvania gets a mention in a story on the “new reality” of “shrinking” public school enrollment. “At this point, there’s every indication that the initial public school enrollment shocks from the pandemic won’t rebound any time soon,” the story notes. “Educators need to be prepared for a new normal where school choice programs are widespread, families are increasingly choosing options outside of traditional public schools, and public school spending has to be reined in to serve smaller student populations.” Pennsylvania is named among several states that already had a declining enrollment pre-COVID yet have “kept hiring more staff rather than making reductions and are spending at record-high rates per student.” (Click here for more on Pa.’s enrollment decline.)

Philly income gains ‘overshadowed’ by inflation

The Inquirer reports that “Philadelphia’s poverty rate is improving,” but the city “remains the poorest big city in America.” The story notes that “median household incomes grew last year, but those gains were entirely overshadowed by the high rate of inflation.”

GOP committee hears testimony on Lifeline Scholarships

Earlier this week, the House Republican Policy Committee held a hearing in Philadelphia to gather testimony on Lifeline Scholarships (also called PASS Scholarships). Panelists included a former public school teacher, a student, and parents. Broad + Liberty reports, “The panelists expressed frustration at the politicization of this issue by special interest groups, agreeing that the situation for children in failing school districts is urgent and dire.” Watch the hearing here, or click here for more from Broad + Liberty.

Amid speculation of congressional run, central Pa. news anchor resigns

Longtime WGAL News 8 anchor Janelle Stelson announced yesterday that today will be her last newscast. While she didn’t specify her next chapter, the news comes amid speculation that she considering running for the 10th congressional seat, currently held by GOP Rep. Scott Perry. If she enters the fray, she would join three other Democrats who have already announced. That said, she just recently changed her registration from Republican to Democrat, and she does not live in the 10th District (which is not a legal requirement).

Questions are needed after fugitive’s capture

On Wednesday, law enforcement captured escaped convict Danelo Cavalcante in Chester County after a 14-day search. While relieved as his capture, Commonwealth Foundation Fellow Guy Ciarrocchi says now the questions must be asked, and in earnest. “Any politician wanting to take a victory lap had better sit down and think about what happened and what they should’ve done differently. And they had better be prepared to answer questions — and to fix this.”

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