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Updated: 1 hour 8 min ago

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

12 hours 42 min ago
Welcome to the second half of the Eagles season.

Call it A.W.

After Wentz.

It's still hard to imagine. It's the one unthinkable thing every Eagles fan feared. We all witnessed it Sunday night as the superstar MVP-caliber second year quarterback hobbled up the tunnel of the ancient L.A. Coliseum.

Torn ACL. Gone for the season. And the post-season.

This is now Nick Foles' team.

Again.

That is not necessarily a bad thing.

Don't get me wrong. The loss of Wentz is incalculable. But this is still a very good team. Certainly good enough to handle the lowly Giants Sunday in the Meadowlands.

Who would have thought that in Week 15 the Eagles and Giants would sport mirror images of each other, with the Eagles at 11-2 and the Giants a dismal 2-11 and having canned their coach and GM.

This one should be simple. Pound the Giants into submission early. The Giants are near the bottom, ranked No. 31 against the run. But there is a problem with that. Things have changed in New York. An old Eagles nemesis, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, is in charge, after head coach Ben McAdoo was canned.

Everyone seems to think the Eagles' best recipe for success now that Wentz is gone is to rely on their formidable running game. Probably not a bad idea. Simply put, Foles is not Wentz. He does not read defenses as well. He does not have nearly the "escapability" as the Houdini-like Wentz.

Expect a big diet of LeGarrette Blount and in particular Jay Ajayi toting the rock.

But also expect defense to load up the box to shut down the Eagles running game and force Foles to beat them in their air. He's certainly capable of doing that. In fact, as good as Wentz was, he still had the occasional blip where he would overthrow wide open receivers. Those are the throws the Eagles have to hope that Foles can make. Remember, this is a guy who once threw seven touchdown passes in a game against the Raiders.

Instead, this is likely going to be a smash-mouth, old style NFC East game.

But I still see the Eagles winning it.

They'll get enough on the ground and with Foles' arm, along with some key turnovers from their defense, which should make live miserable for Eli Manning. Then again, I'm not sure how Eli's year can get any more miserable.

Look for the Eagles to win, locking up a first-round bye in the playoffs and - with a Vikings' loss - maybe securing home-field advantage in the playoffs.

THE PICK: Make it Eagles 23, Giants 19. The Eagles defense should control this game, giving Nick Foles short fields to work with, and allowing LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to pound away at the Giants. Don't be surprised if this one comes down to a field-goal contest.

LAST WEEK: Yes, I picked against the Birds last week. And I was almost right. No, I didn't expect Carson Wentz to go down. This is still a solid playoff team. But a Super Bowl squad? Only if Nick Foles plays like the guy who once threw 27 TD passes and only 2 interceptions for the Eagles, instead of the guy who looked lost at times while trying to lead the Rams. It's easy to forget that during the mourning for Wentz, it was Foles who led the Eagles to the two drives and Jake Elliott field goals that lifted them to a huge win. The Eagles got the win and lifted their NFL-best record to 11-2. The loss dropped me to 10-3.

GAME BY GAME:Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 30, Redskins 17. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 24. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17)

Eagles 26, Chargers 24. (My Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 24)

Eagles 28, Panthers 23. (My Pick: Panthers 26, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Redskins 24. (My Pick: Eagles 31, Redskins 19)

Eagles 33, 49ers 10. (My Pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 10)

Eagles 51, Broncos 23 (My Pick: Eagles 23, Broncos 19)

Eagles 37, Cowboys 9 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cowboys 17)

Eagles 31, Bears 3 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Bears 13)

Seahawks 24, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Seahawks 23, Eagles 17)

Eagles 43, Rams 35 (My Pick: Rams 33, Eagles 29)
Categories: Pennsylvania

More on the end of an era in Delco politics; & a final salute to Civera & White

Fri, 2017-12-15 07:05
Second-guessing is a great sport.

I do it just about every day.

I sit here and wonder if I made the right decision, in particular when it comes to the most important decision I make every day. That would be the front page of our print edition.

In yesterday's blog, I noted how I expected that some people were going to think we were trying to take one final shot at the two departing Republican members of County Council, Chairman Mario Civera and Councilman Dave White.

That wasn't the case. The front page was actually a play on words to convey two divergent eras that were coming to an end.

I certainly did want to note the exits of Civera and White. In fact, we had reporter Kathleen Carey spend the majority of her story doing just that.

But the day also marked another inescapable conclusion. It marked the end of one-party rule in the county. I wanted the front page to note that as well.

I know some people would interpret that as taking a shot. Believe me none was intended.

Of course, as soon as that blog item hit Facebook, the comments poured in.

But I do have to say I was surprised by one comment. It came from another member of council, who was sure I was taking one more shot at the Republicans.

Just in case you wonder how we feel about the loss of Civera and White, you might want to read today's editorial.

Yes, they will be missed.
Categories: Pennsylvania

More snow coming Friday afternoon

Fri, 2017-12-15 06:34
We're back on the snow watch.

That's right, Winter doesn't officially arrive until next week (Dec. 21 to be exact) but we are in line for our second accumulating snow of the season this afternoon.

Once again, there is no need to panic. This is not going to be a paralyzing snow. But it will come at a bad time, arriving in mid-afternoon just in time to make roads sloppy and turn the always hectic Friday night rush hour into a mess.

Snow is expected to arrive about 3 o'clock, arriving from the west and slowly making its way across the region.

You can expect 1-3 inches, and once again it looks like South Jersey and South Delaware are likely to see the higher amounts. The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the region from 1-9 p.m.

Here's the full forecast:

Friday: Snow likely, mainly after 3 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32. Light and variable wind. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Friday Night: Chance of snow, mainly before 8 p.m. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming mostly clear, with a low around 27. Light northwest wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 40. West wind 8 to 13 mph.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 27. West wind around 6 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 43. Light and variable wind.
Categories: Pennsylvania

End of an Era in Delco

Thu, 2017-12-14 06:58
Please take a close look at the front page of today's print edition.

It actually means a couple of things.

First and foremost, it was meant as a fond farewell to two outgoing members of Delaware County Council.

Mario Civera is completing two terms on council and is wrapping up more than 40 years of public service. Fellow Republican Councilman Dave White lost his bid for re-election in November.

But it also connotes something else.

It serves as notice of the end of the era of one-party rule on County Council.

In attendance at yesterday's final meeting of the year were Democrats Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek, who defeated White and his running mate John Perfetti in November.

There is a small photo of them cut into the bottom of the lead photo.

I know people are going to accuse me of taking one last shot at the Republicans. That really is not the case.

Very, very few people can point to the kind of illustrious public service as Mario Civera. From his service on Upper Darby Council, through three decades representing the people of Upper Darby in the 164th District in the state House, through two terms on County Council. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the county with a longer stint of public service.

You'll also look a long time before you find someone who speaks negatively of Dave White. Yes, the campaign got heated, and there were lots of things said about his business ties. None of that changes the fact that Dave White is a good guy. He'll be missed on council.

They both will.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Life in the gutter

Thu, 2017-12-14 06:45
I know I shouldn't go here again, but here I am again anyhow.

I am grudgingly coming to the opinion that Donald Trump is not going to change. He is what he is.

And to a lot of people, I am sure that is just fine.

The problem with that is - regardless whether he or his faithful followers realize it - he also sets the tenor for the national discussion.

A lot of the overheated, partisan rhetoric that has brought the country literally to a standstill can be traced to his doorstep.

But at a minimum I continue to hope for at least a glimmer of the reverence and respect that the office of the president of the United States commands.

And once again this week President Trump came up short.

I don't care about politics.

I don't care about Republican or Democrat.

I don't care about liberal or conservative.

His Tweet this week attacking Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., was a low blow, even for him.

Trump called her out in his Twitter post as a "lightweight" and a "flunky" for Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer.

I may not like that or agree with it, but it is at least within the boundaries of decency.

But of course the president was not done.

He then castigated her for once showing up at his office seeking political donations. And he added that she "would do anything" for them.

You can imagine the uproar that followed.

The White House, through spokesperson Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, argued those reading that tweet in a certain way would only be doing so if "your mind is in the gutter."

I guess you can consider me in the gutter, along with a lot of other people.

I keep waiting for Trump to act presidential.

I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Your early morning report from the roads

Thu, 2017-12-14 05:51
Here’s your early morning report from the roads.

Wake up, you sleepy heads.

Yes, we got some snow overnight.

Don’t panic.

If you get out of your driveway, you’ll be fine.

The biggest hassle of the morning, at least in the Chester-Delaware County area, will likely be cleaning off the car.

Which makes me wonder when the last time I actually was able to get a car in the garage. Not happening this winter either.

The roads in your development and side streets might be a bit slushy, but for the most part the main roads are just wet.

It is going to be another cold one, however. It’s 31 degrees out there right now and we’re only going to 37. There could still be a few more flurries this morning, then we’ll see mostly clouds.

Very cold overnight into Friday with a low down into the teens.

Get the full forecast here.

And for a full traffic report, click here.

Categories: Pennsylvania

A win for Alabama & the nation

Wed, 2017-12-13 07:29
Good for Alabama.

In a stunning upset, voters there rejected the candidacy of Republican Roy Moore and elected their first Democrat to the U.S. Senate in more than a quarter century.

Democrat Doug Jones won the special election to fill the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Moore, who was dogged by accusations from a slew of women that he had made inappropriate sexual overtures to them when they were teens and he was a young prosecutor in his 30s, refused to concede.

More arrived at the polls in his usual fashion, atop his horse Sassy.

The loss is a major setback for President Trump and GOP strategist Steve Bannon, who had pushed Moore's candidacy as crucial to maintaining the GOP's slim majority in the Senate, despite the allegations against Moore.

Trump famously quipped that Moore had "totally denied" the allegations.

It also shows the deep fracture that is developing in the Republican party.

Trump congratulated Jones on his win in a late-night Tweet from the White House.

Of course, this morning, he was back on Twitter with a new plot line.

"The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!"

There you have it.

Trump was right. Again.

I guess all those voters in Alabama were wrong.

You can read the latest on the Alabama election here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Are Eagles fans cursed?

Wed, 2017-12-13 07:10
Are we cursed?

No, not as Democrats or Republicans.

I'm talking about something much more important than that.

Are Eagles fans curse.

This was supposed to be our year.

The team unexpectedly raced out to a 10-2 record, best in the NFL.

Everything was going right, despite that recent setback in Seattle.

Then the one thing that could not happen - did.

Carson Wentz went down.

He's out for the season.

This is now Nick Foles team - again.

Can the Eagles win a playoff game with Foles in command. I certainly think so.

Can they win a Super Bowl? I doubt it.

I hope I am wrong.

Then again, maybe we really are cursed.

It's featured on our editorial page.
Categories: Pennsylvania

It's brrrrr-utal out there

Wed, 2017-12-13 06:45
Brace yourself.

Or better yet, maybe just pull the covers back up over your head and stay in bed.

It's nasty out there.

19 degrees.

That's what the old dashboard thermometer was reading when my fanny hit the seat early this morning.

I'm not sure I will ever own another car that does not have heated seats.

If the brutal cold does not get you, the wind just might. It was howling all night as temperatures plunged by double digits.

This is the coldest morning of the winter so far.

Consider yourself warned.

You can get the full forecast here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Curse of the Philly fan

Tue, 2017-12-12 07:29
Sports - at least the version we are familiar with here in the sports-crazed Philly region - is a cruel mistress.

And nowhere is that more in view than among the die-hard legions of green and white.

They are a different breed, these Eagles fans.

Just ask the folks out in L.A.

Twice this season they saw their home turf literally taken over by traveling Eagles faithful. When the Birds played the Chargers a few weeks back, their retrofitted pro soccer stadium was likely more than half populated with Eagles fans.

Then just this past Sunday, "Iggles" zealots swarmed into the sprawling L.A. Coliseum as the Eagles faced off with the Rams. It got so bad that Fox Sports actually put out a casting call for Rams fans to counter the legions of Birds backers who crowded the set for the pre-game show.

Of course, this year the full-throated roar of "E-A-G-L-E-S" was even more raucous than normal.

This was our year.

Doug Pederson's charges raced out to a 10-2 record, tied for the best mark in the NFL.

And they did it despite injuries to several stars.

They lost All-Pro left offensive tackle Jayson Peters, the man tasked with protecting Carson Wentz's blind side.

They lost all-purpose running back Darren Sproles for the season.

They lost star middle linebacker Jordan Hicks to a blown Achilles.

Special teams stud Chris Maragos was placed on the shelf.

But they persevered, adopting the policy of their head coach, "next man up."

There is only one injury they could not fathom, and likely will be unable to survive.

That would be if anything should happen to Wentz, the superstar in the making QB who was showcased on national TV Sunday against another star QB, the one taken before him as the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Then late in the third quarter, the unthinkable happened.

That as Wentz limping up the tunnel into the locker room.

Suddenly, this was Nick Foles' team again.

Next man up?

How about next season.

Oh, don't get me wrong.

The Eagles clearly are still a playoff team, they locked that up with that thrilling win over the Rams - maybe the game of the year in the NFL.

But all of that is now overshadowed by the loss of Wentz.

It was left to Pederson to deliver the news at his Monday press briefing.

Torn ACL in his left knee. Gone for the season.

We are cursed.

Maybe it's our fate, forever saddled with ill will for once deigning to boo Santa Claus. Once again there is coal in Eagles' fans stockings.

It is now up to Nick Foles and Doug Pederson to give Philadelphia perhaps the ultimate Christmas gift.

The season of joy suddenly has a dark pall hanging over it.

Playoffs? Absolutely. A first-round bye? Possible. Super Bowl? Don't bet on it.

Carson Wentz doesn't play here anymore. At least not any more this season.

Just another day in Philly sports.

* Just in case you really want to be depressed, check out Jack McCaffery's column here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Welcome, Nick's House

Tue, 2017-12-12 06:59
The Colleluori family moved into Swarthmore Monday night.

Well, not literally.

But their organization, the HEADStrong Foundation, opened the doors to Nick's House, a very special place that will serve as a home away from home for care givers and loved ones of cancer patients who are in the area seeking treatment.

The house is the fulfillment of the dream of Nick Colleluori, whose vision for HEADStrong took shape even as he was battling non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Colleluori, a three-star athlete at Ridley High, noticed the hardships that housing created for those who, like him, were getting treatment for cancer.

But Nick grew up here. Many people travel a great distance for treatment. Housing becomes a big - and costly - issue for them. Nick lost his battle against cancer, but he made his mom Cheryl promise to carry through on his promise to help those who were struggling with housing issues while fighting the same battle that cost him his life.

The result was first a home in the Holmes section of Ridley.

Monday night they cut the ribbon on Nick's House in Swarthmore, a sprawling old estate on South Chester Road that will be "home" for as many as seven families.

We welcome Nick's House to the neighborhood.

Nick's dream is still very much alive.

You can read our story here. And we offer a salute on our editorial page here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

All eyes on Alabama

Tue, 2017-12-12 06:42
The eyes of the nation will be on Alabama today.

And it has nothing to do with college football.

Instead, we'll be riveted by the race to fill the seat in the U.S. Senate race once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The fact that this is even a race tells you this is not a normal election.

Why? Well, there is this for instance. No Democrat has won a statewide election in Alabama in more than a decade. How red is the home of the Tide? It prompted one Democratic political strategist to offer this: “I don’t think the Lord Jesus could win as a Democrat in Alabama.”

Republican Roy Moore, a former judge and prosecutor, is in the race of his life against Democrat Doug Jones.

All of this has to do with allegations that have dogged Moore that when he was a young prosecutor, he had inappropriate relationships with young girls, some in their early teens. Moore vehemently denies the charges.

It is all part of the sexual harassment firestorm that has enveloped the country for months now.

It brought down Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

It has toppled media giants.

And it cost Democrat Al Franken his seat in the U.S. Senate.

In fact, you could make the argument that Franken was placed on the sacrificial altar by Democrats for the reason that it would allow them to turn up the heat on Moore - along with President Trump.

And it just might allow them to pick up a seat and make the GOP's razor-thin edge in the Senate even more tenuous. Remember that the governor of Minnesota is a Democrat and is likely to appoint another Dem to fill Franken's seat.

A dozen women have come forward to accuse the president of inappropriate conduct before he was a candidate. Trump has flatly said the women's stories simply did not happen.

Today we will watch the results in Alabama closely.

We won't be the only ones.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Agony of Victory

Mon, 2017-12-11 06:17
It's official: The football gods must hate us.

Most Monday mornings after the kind of exhilarating win the Eagles gutted out vs. the Rams in L.A. yesterday afternoon, the Philadelphia region would be on top of the world.

The Eagles are back on top of the NFL, with a league-best 11-2 record. They locked up the NFC East crown. People would be making their reservations for Minneapolis, where they are playing the Super Bowl this year.

Instead, a shroud hangs over Philadelphia.

I tried to capture it on today's front page.

I called it the "Agony of Victory."

That's because the Eagles likely have lost the one player who makes them something special.

Carson Wentz left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Some sources are saying he may have torn an ACL. That would mean he's out for the season, including the playoffs.

Give the Eagles and Nick Foles all the credit in the world.

They still managed to rally and beat the Rams, 43-35, in what might be the best NFL game you'll see in a long time, Let's be clear. Without Carson Wentz, the Eagles are still a playoff team. They might even win a couple of games.

But they are not a Super Bowl team.

That is the difference Carson Wentz makes.

It is the risk you take with Wentz. Ironically, he suffered the injury on a play that didn't matter. He plunged into the end zone on a scramble but the play was nullified by a holding call on right tackle Lane Johnson.

Incredibly, Wentz stayed in the game for several plays and still threw a TD pass.

At least the NFL should be happy. It as great TV.

Now we wait for the medical news.

And we curse our fate as Eagles fans.
Categories: Pennsylvania

'Fake News' and the practice of journalism

Mon, 2017-12-11 05:55
It was another tough week for journalism last week.

And this has nothing to do with the cratering business model that threatens the industry.

No, this is about reporting, and what we do.

As clearly evidenced by high-profile cases in which news organizations got things wrong, the business is having its issues. Those instances put a cloud over the vast majority of what we do.

It plays into the hands of those who are all too willing to scream "fake news" every time something gets reported that they don't like. It happens every day.

I know. I answer the phone and I hear it.

I talk a little bit about the practice of journalism in my weekly Letter From the Editor print column today.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The battle against gerrymandering

Mon, 2017-12-11 05:50
No elected post should be "voter-proof."

That is what they are arguing in a courtroom in downtown Philly.

It's about gerrymandering.

And here is the key thing to remember.

Try to take politics out of it. That is actually one of the things this lawsuit against the most recent Congressional redistricting plan is attempting to accomplish.

The truth is both sides engage in this, using the redrawing of the boundaries to favor their side.

Today a second suit will kick off out in Harrisburg.

Make sure you read our editorial on this whole shameful process here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Sat, 2017-12-09 02:00
The Eagles this week may have to do something they have not done yet this year.

No, not win after a loss. They already did that in Week 3 when they recovered from their only other loss, against the Chiefs, and held off the Giants.

But the one thing they have not done so far this year is win a high-scoring shootout. For the most part, during that most enjoyable nine-game win streak, they were blowing out the lesser lights of this year's NFL.

That won't be the case Sunday in L.A.

The Rams are for real. On both sides of the ball.

Led by Jared Goff, they are going to score points, even against the Eagles' stout defense. They can grind it on the ground, led by Todd Gurley, or in the air with Goff.

Everyone will be watching the battle between Goff, who was taken No. 1 in the draft, against Wentz, who went No. 2.

But keep your eyes on the line. It's likely the team that can run the ball and control the clock is going to take this game.

There is another factor at play as well. The Eagles got a wake-up call vs. Seattle, but they have not exactly been in their normal routine this week. They are practicing on a baseball field and staying in a hotel, maybe with one eye on the wildfires that have been devastating southern California.

The Seattle game was a test. Can the Eagles beat a very good, playoff-caliber team? They came up short. Now they get another bite at the apple. I still don't think they're up to the task.

Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense would be wise not to have another slow start, as is suddenly their habit. They may not be able to catch the high-flying Rams.

I see the Eagles falling behind in the first half, then both teams putting up points in the second.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think the Birds will lose two in a row for the first time this year, endangering their ability to secure home field advantage in the playoffs.

THE PICK: Make it Rams 33, Eagles 29. Two losses in a row? That's something that hasn't happened this year. This will be a good test for Doug Pederson and the Eagles, to see how they react after an off night in Seattle. I still think they're a solid playoff team, I just don't think they're as good as they looked while rolling over the dregs of the NFL. Again, I hope I'm wrong.

LAST WEEK: The Seahawks were a desperate team and it showed. They simply outplayed the Eagles, who continued a trend, bad first half, furious rally in second half. But they continued to turn the ball over, and in the NFL that is a killer. The loss dropped the Eagles to a still very good 10-2. In the meantime, going with Seattle allowed me to pull even again, with an identical 10-2 mark. I'm going against them again this week.

GAME BY GAME:Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 30, Redskins 17. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 24. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17)

Eagles 26, Chargers 24. (My Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 24)

Eagles 28, Panthers 23. (My Pick: Panthers 26, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Redskins 24. (My Pick: Eagles 31, Redskins 19)

Eagles 33, 49ers 10. (My Pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 10)

Eagles 51, Broncos 23 (My Pick: Eagles 23, Broncos 19)

Eagles 37, Cowboys 9 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cowboys 17)

Eagles 31, Bears 3 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Bears 13)

Seahawks 24, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Seahawks 23, Eagles 17)
Categories: Pennsylvania

The shame of Chester Upland

Fri, 2017-12-08 07:13
On our editorial page today, we delve into the shame of the Chester Upland School District.

How bad are things there?

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was in town to talk about his team's recent audit of the troubled school district.

There was only one problem.

The audit didn't happen.

Why?

Brace yourself.

The district could not even produce the documents needed to perform the audit.

You can't make this stuff up.

And this from a school district that annually receives millions of dollars in taxpayer money via state funding.

For their part, the district is blaming a recent move to new offices and also points out most of the discrepancies and missing documents took place in the term of a previous administration.

The problem in Chester Upland is that there is always a previous administration.

The district has been under state receivership since 2012 and in that time has had three receivers and two different superintendents.

Of course, in the meantime, it's the children and families of Chester Upland who wind up losing.

No wonder there is a groundswell for school choice and charter schools.

It's gone on far too long.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

'Chaos' in the Chester Upland School District

Thu, 2017-12-07 07:39
Stop us if you've heard this before.

Chester Upland School District is a mess.

Actually, the word used by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale was "chaos."

DePasquale was in town Wednesday to release the results of the latest state audit of Chester Upland's books.

Or at least that was his hope.

It didn't turn out that way.

That's because DePasquale said things are so bad in Chester Upland that officials were not even able to supply the necessary paperwork his office needed to do the audit.

"Total administrative chaos," is how the auditor general put it.

DePasquale, who has now been in charge of reviewing the books for public agencies in the state for almost five years, says that has never happened before.

The Democrat stopped in our office in Swarthmore Wednesday morning to discuss his dealings with the district.

He noted it's "very rare" to run into this kind of difficulty and lack of cooperation. At one point he referred to the district as the Titanic.

“It is rather rare to find a school district in such disarray that we are unable to complete an audit and leaves doubts about whether the district’s students are getting the education they deserve and need,” DePasquale said in a statement.

“Sadly, with Chester Upland School District, there was so much information the district couldn’t provide that we were unable to come to a full conclusion on the district’s status.”

For their part, the district blames much of the problem on the missing documents on a recent move to new offices.

The auditor general did offer some hope that the new team in control of the district is showing signs of progress at turning things around. Veteran Chester Upland educator Dr. Juan Baughn took over as superintendent when Dr. Gregory Shannon resigned suddenly last December. Baughn was formally named superintendent back in July.

The audit would have covered the years 2013-2016. DePasquale said the district's finances continue to crater Back in 2012 the district had a $2 million balance; now they're staring at a $163 million deficit.

The school district released a statement saying most of the infractions took place in the academic years 2012 to 2016, before the current administration was in place.

DePasquale has referred the matter to the governor's office, the state Department of Education and the Legislature.

He also noted that he believed the district, which has been under state receivership since 2012, would benefit by a return to local control, as they are preparing to do in the city of Philadelphia. Chester Upland has gone through three state receivers since then.

DePasquale also pointed out something that often gets lost in the numbers.

The children and families are Chester Upland are too often getting cheated out of a decent education by bureaucratic bungling.

And have been for a long time.

You can read our story here.

For the full auditor general's report, CLICK HERE.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Mystery at Wallingford Elementary

Thu, 2017-12-07 07:06
There is a mystery in the Wallingford Swarthmore School District.

The respected principal of Wallingford Elementary School resigned suddenly Monday.

The school alerted the community, noting that Joshua Peterkin left his post because of an allegation of 'inappropriate conduct."

The district was quick to point out the incident did not involve any students at the school.

But other than that, they aren't saying much.

Both the district Superintendent Lisa Palmer and solicitor are indicating they won't have much more to say, pointing out they are limited because it's a personnel issue.

That leaves a lot of people wondering just what it was that would cause Peterkin to leave his job.

Joseph Buechler, a vice principal at Strath Haven Middle School, is taking over at Wallingford Elementary on an interim basis, while the school starts an immediate search for Peterkin's successor.

One parent we talked to indicated she was glad the district took quick action, but was hoping for more transparency.

I get the feeling she's not the only one.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Day of Infamy

Thu, 2017-12-07 06:47
It is the day that changed the world.

Or, as it's better known, the "day that will live in infamy."

Dec. 7.

Pearl Harbor Day.

It's a day that changed the course of the United State - and the world - forever.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced American to shake off its isolationist stance and plunged it into World War II.

It's important to remember the lessons learned on that day.

In no small part so that they are not repeated again.

You can read our editorial on the lessons of Pearl Harbor here.

Categories: Pennsylvania