This morning, we’re talking about water. For thousands in the Delaware River watershed, the ecological staple translates to an economical one, too. And in Philly, Mayor Jim Kenney is pressuring several major institutions to go with the flow and raise wages for their workers, or face losing a major water bill discount.

Speaking of bills, there’s one on the table in New Jersey that would require elementary school students to learn cursive.

To thousands south of Trenton, the Delaware River, the Schuylkill, and the watershed that feeds them isn’t just part of the environment, but a vital piece of the economy, too.

The bodies of water generate billions of dollars in revenue and taxes, keeping everyone from cargo ship drivers to canoe renters and restaurateurs financially afloat.

Mayor Jim Kenney is ramping up the fight over security guards’ wages at Penn, Temple and other institutions, threatening to pull their 25% water bill discount if they do not raise worker pay to $15 an hour.

In 2018, water bill reductions saved the University of Pennsylvania and its hospitals more than $2.2 million, and saved Temple University nearly $600,000.

In other labor news, Philadelphia’s Fair Workweek scheduling law has been delayed, leaving advocates to question what the setback suggests about the future of worker-protection laws in the city.

Founded in the 1700s by German immigrants who moved to east of Lancaster from Philly, the Ephrata Cloister faced an anti-immigrant screed from Benjamin Franklin, who detested the arriving hordes of German speakers, fearing they would never learn English and would reject local customs.

This year, the state-run site’s popular Christmas week tours in Pennsylvania’s conservative heartland focus on the parallels between the treatment of migrants then and now.

What you need to know today

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“Not only is our economy increasingly reliant on technology, but economists have noted we are now experiencing a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ that encompasses artificial intelligence, robotics, quantum computing, and advanced telecommunications. But don’t worry. Pennsylvania’s elected leaders don’t think college is all that important.”The Inquirer Editorial Board on the “Rust Belt of higher education.”

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