Kristen Graham is the urban education writer, with a focus on the vast, complicated Philadelphia School District and issues facing schools in cities across the region and beyond. She is a Pulitzer Prize winner, part of a team that earned the 2012 gold medal for public service for a series of stories about violence in city schools.
“Disturbed asbestos has been observed and reported at schools across the district,” said teachers’ union president Jerry Jordan. “The students and educators are literally risking death whenever they go to school — that is a shocking, shocking thing.”
Educating children is "the most important thing we do,” the mayor said, adding that if Philadelphia does it well, “we won’t have to worry about prisons. We won’t have to worry about addiction. We won’t have to worry about locking people up.”
The school district has hired 700 new teachers and counselors, some of them in new positions. It has air conditioned six schools — though the vast majority of classrooms remain un-air conditioned — and modernized 132 classrooms.