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Budget cuts have shuttered school libraries for decades. A young English teacher has built one from scratch

“The only thing you absolutely have to know,” as Albert Einstein once said, “is the location of the library.” When it comes to Philadelphia’s public schools, Einstein’s dictum leaves most students hamstrung, as the district’s number of librarians has declined sharply in recent decades. “In 1991, the School District of Philadelphia had 176 paid librarians,”

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4 mins read
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Black-owned bookstores have been activism epicenters since the 19th century. These local shops continue to carry the torch

The FBI kept Hakim’s Bookstore, 210 S. 52nd Street, under surveillance for some time, sniffing around for subversion, says Yvonne Blake, 70. Daughter of Dawud Hakim, the store’s late founder, Blake recounts how her father had done the unthinkable in 1959 by opening an independent Black bookstore, five years before segregation would be outlawed in

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11 mins read
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Students create their own educational and entrepreneurial opportunities at We Love Philly

When you approach the storefronts at 52nd and Warren streets, just off Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia, you might notice the handcrafted facades of One Art Community Center’s Earthship-style building, which uses glass bottles and cans placed in cement to provide structure and light. In the center’s backyard, a group of students are working on

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9 mins read
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There are not enough Black educators in our schools. This organization is working to change that

Years ago, my parents told Miss Farber, a white 60ish teacher at the elementary school in our Black working-class neighborhood, that when my brother and I graduated they would enroll us in a junior high program for gifted students. “There’s a Hebrew element at that school,” Miss Farber said, “and your children won’t make it.”

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4 mins read
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As the school year winds down, Philadelphia-area teachers reflect on how they adapted to pandemic restrictions

Covid-19 has slammed all teachers with change. Some have held classes online while others have taught in person—sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly, and often tired. “When this is over, we’re going to have collective PTSD,” says Gena Lopata, 48, who is comfortable teaching in person two days a week at The Crefeld School, a small private

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7 mins read
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Philadelphia Public School teachers strike, refusing to do in-person classes until schools are safe from COVID-19

  On a bitterly cold Monday morning, dozens of teachers and many of Philadelphia’s most prominent elected officials gathered outside of Samuel Gompers Elementary School in solidarity with striking teachers. Philadelphia educators are on strike in response to the the School District of Philadelphia’s plan for pre-K through second grade teachers to report to school

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1 min read
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