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A wrinkle for Philly school choice | Morning Newsletter

And you had lots to say about Thursday’s top story

Welcome to Friday. I have a story for you that’s quite the Catch-22.

In an effort to even the playing field, the Philadelphia School District said it was moving to a lottery system for high-performing magnet schools, away from a criteria-based student rating system that gave principals the final say. The lottery would boost students from historically underrepresented zip codes.

But a number of parents at magnet schools that already have a diverse student body say lotteries actually stand to hurt those schools.

I had planned to lead off with something a bit more lighthearted to close out the week until our education reporter Kristen A. Graham went ahead and dropped this heat.

Definitely interested in your thoughts. Send a reply to

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr,

The parents at Science Leadership Academy Beeber are finding that change is hard — especially when you don’t view your situation as the problem.

For decades, demographics at a number of Philly’s 37 special admissions schools have not matched the makeup of the city’s overall student body. School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. announced a move to a lottery-based system, a drastic change that Hite said would fix generations of systemic inequity. Kids will still need to meet admissions criteria.

The issue is that, at a school like SLA Beeber, the makeup of the student body already represents the diversity the district is striving for — leaving some parents annoyed that the shake-up isn’t focused only on less diverse schools.

“Our school meets the demographics of the Philadelphia school system. We are predominantly Black,” said Walette Carter, an SLA Beeber advocate who sits on the school board’s Family and Advisory Council. “We are multicultural. We have kids from just about every zip code in the city of Philadelphia. Why are we getting hit with this?”

Our reporter Kristen A. Graham has more on a situation that has a number of district parents on edge.

What you should know today

  1. SEPTA averted its second strike in as many months, reaching a deal with the union that works suburban routes and lines.

  2. Under the backdrop of a bribery conviction, City Councilmember Bobby Henon went right back to work, introducing new zoning legislation.

  3. Temple Health is bringing a women’s hospital to the vacant Cancer Treatment Centers of America building in Juniata.

  4. Peco received state approval for a rate hike of as much as 6.6% for customers beginning Jan. 1.

  5. Someone found a pair of vials with a smallpox label left in a Montgomery County lab. But fear not.

  6. According to an analysis from two Temple researchers, not all unvaccinated people in Philly are blind to the benefits. They just have bigger fish to fry.

  7. Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is baseball’s most valuable player in the National League.

  8. A judge put the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board on notice for intentionally stifling wine distribution and for repeat rate charges to restaurants.

  9. Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.

I received a number of emails regarding the story we presented yesterday showing the confusing nature of courtesy towing in Philly. This email from a Northern Liberties reader named Laila R. offers a few questions worth sharing – and answering.

“How can they just take your car all over the city, especially if you have permit stickers on your car? I understand the premise of a courtesy tow but license plates are designed to tell you who the owner of the car is, how is this allowed to happen and where can you park so that this doesn’t happen, or is this just another thing to add to life in the city?”

I can’t answer the first question, but we created a comprehensive guide regarding parking life in the city that should answer the second.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

With Bryce Harper winning the NL MVP race, today’s question is simple: Who was the last Phillies player to take the title? Check out this throwback article for the answer and a look at his best moments.

Photo of the day

That’s it for me, Philly. My colleague Ashley Hoffman will deliver our Sunday Morning Newsletter and I’ll be back on Monday to get your Thanksgiving week started. ✌️