Early October on the Wissahickon (Instagram/@paulkleimanphoto)

How Philly charter schools work, and why they’re controversial

How to view charter schools — which account for about a quarter of schools managed by the School District of Philadelphia — is one of the biggest ongoing debates in American education. With the Temple’s Logan Center for Urban Investigative Reporting and Chalkbeat Philadelphia, we’re launching a series examining how charters impact the local landscape.

To kick it off, we answer 10 key questions about charters, and how they work in Philly and Pa. Continue reading…

Pan American Academy Charter School. (Natalie Reitz/Logan Center)

Penn-linked scientists win Nobel Prize for mRNA vaccine tech

Two researchers who worked together in Philly were awarded the Nobel Prize for their contributions to the development of mRNA technology, key to the fast and safe rollout of the COVID vaccine. One of the scientists, Drew Weissman, is still at Penn and is a full professor.

The other scientist, Katalin Karikó, is now an adjunct at Penn but left the university years ago, we reported in 2020, after being taken off the tenure track when she struggled to get grants on this formerly obscure topic.

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, recipients of the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. (Peggy Peterson/University of Pennsylvania)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• RIP Philadelphia journalist Josh Kruger, who did freelance reporting for Billy Penn and others, and worked at the city’s Office of Homeless Services. Kruger was known as a fierce advocate for people who’d gone through some of the same traumas he had: homelessness, drug addiction, HIV+ diagnosis, and anti-LGBTQ prejudice. National news has been covering his brutal shooting death. [Billy Penn/DAO/CNN/NYT$]

• The SEPTA transport workers union has authorized a strike if necessary in advance of an Oct. 31 contract deadline. SEPTA has been called the nation’s most strike-prone transit agency. [CBS3/BP 2021]

• Resident advisors at Penn, aka students who also work overseeing dorms, have voted to unionize. The move comes after the NLRB found they had standing, contrary to university claims. [Daily Pennsylvanian/Billy Penn]

• A semi-update on the yearslong effort to rename Taney Street, whose namesake was responsible for the Supreme Court’s slavery-enabling Dred Scott decision: There’s still no movement in City Council, despite everyone expressing approval. [BP 2021/Fitler Focus]

• The Stephen Starr restaurant coming to the former Barnes & Noble across from Rittenhouse Square will be an “Italian version of Parc,” with balcony and sidewalk seating. [Inquirer$]

• Red October begins tonight! Here are eight things to know ahead of the Phillies’ wild card series against the Marlins. [Billy Penn]


Mayor Kenney joins Riverfront North officials for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Robert A. Borski Jr. Park in Bridesburg (10 a.m.), which will help connect the trails along the Delaware River. 


🍺 There’s a new weekly pop-up beer garden in University City. Called The Public, it’s in Schuylkill Yards across from 30th Street Station, with beer from Punch Buggy Brewing and food from Puerco Logo. (4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays in October)

#️⃣️ Visual artists Lisa Congdon and Martha Rich host a First Friday preview of their upcoming shows at Paradigm Gallery in Old City. $25 tix include art swag. (5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6)

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