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Philly school’s controversial cell phone ban; a closer look at the gender wage gap | Morning Newsletter

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Sisters Lizbeth Vazquez and Luz Morales at Nelvin Grocery.
Sisters Lizbeth Vazquez and Luz Morales at Nelvin Grocery.Read moreRONNIE POLANECZKY

    The Morning Newsletter

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The morning routine for Kensington High School students is different. Like most, they grab their books and make their way to school. But due to Kensington's cell phone policy, students have to make some very unique pit stops on the way in. Meanwhile, in the state's wealthiest county, some people are being priced out. Phoenixville's resurgence has made it one of the area's hottest towns, but some longtime residents have been left out in the cold. Governor Wolf signed an executive order aimed at solving another Pennsylvania issue in June: the gender wage gap. New research says the gap might be even larger than we thought nationwide.

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» READ MORE: Kensington High phone ban leads to cell phones stored at corner stores

Cell phones for Kensington High School students often have two bills. One is for the phone itself. The other is from the corner deli where students stash their phones during the day.

As my colleague Ronnie Polaneczky writes, students are not allowed to bring phones into the school so they have to figure out somewhere else to "store" them. The ban was issued in 2015 after some students used phones to plan an after-school assault. But many parents and students say having a phone handy is a matter of safety.

The Philadelphia School District leaves cell phone policy up to schools, but a spokesman says he doesn't know of any other schools in the city that bans cell phones altogether.

» READ MORE: New report suggests gender wage gap is higher than you thought

In June, Governor Wolf held up a plastic bag with 79 cents in it to illustrate how much a woman makes on average for every dollar a man makes. A new study suggests that he could have removed a decent bit of change from that bag for a more accurate representation.

Most studies look at the wage gap by comparing men's and women's annual salaries or hourly wages. But this latest one examined wages over three 15-year periods. That means it accounts for factors that might get lost in analysis of a single year.

The authors of the study say that there has been significant progress over time. But they add that the narrowing of the wage gap has slowed in recent years and remains higher for women of color.

» READ MORE: Luxury apartments for some, lost homes for others in Chester County

Phoenixville has transformed from a downtrodden town into a bustling borough. Its rebirth can be seen in the bars, restaurants and high-end apartments that fill the downtown.

The resurgence has been great for some. For others, like Joseph Giron, it's been a nightmare. The longtime Phoenixville resident and veteran found himself homeless after he was laid off. Many can no longer afford to call it home.   

"Nobody expected Phoenixville to go from a working-class town to such a hot commodity," said the executive director of a local nonprofit that helps struggling people. This dilemma is especially striking in Pennsylvania's wealthiest county.

What you need to know today

  1. President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, made a surprise appearance in court Thursday. He pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about work he did on a Trump real estate deal in Russia.

  2. Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane surrendered to authorities Thursday. She is now serving her prison sentence for perjury and other crimes after exhausting all appeal options.

  3. Meanwhile, Johnny Bobbitt, the homeless man at the center of a viral GoFundMe scam, waived his right to an extradition hearing, clearing the way for him to face fraud charges in New Jersey.

  4. Former first lady Michelle Obama took the stage in front of a capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center last night to promote her new memoir, Becoming. In the candid conversation, she touched on everything from her favorite dessert to the pressures of being our country's first first family of color. 

  5. Some parents try to help their children by paying for college and often go against the advice of financial experts in order to do so. Soaring tuition costs have brought an end to the days of "coming through" for the kids for many American families.

  6. In several Bucks County towns, residents are being warned to boil all tap water before consuming it due to the potential presence of a disease-causing organism.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Yet another piece of photographic evidence for why you should check out Cherry Street Pier. Thanks for sharing, @mr_arcangel.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we'll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting

  1. Sometimes a hug or high five can be just the pick me up you need. Luckily, Philly has David "Big Dave" Sylvester who works to spread happiness across the world, one warm greeting at a time.

  2. Wawa's getting into the beer game. Our area's favorite convenience store is teaming up with 2SP Brewing Co., to create a Wawa-inspired stout. But there's only one Wawa in the state where you can buy it.

  3. Speaking of a cold one, fans of the citywide special can breathe a sigh of relief. A lawsuit threatening the popular PBR-whiskey combo is over.

  4. If you were broken up over Amazon not picking Philly for HQ2, here's a consolation prize. The company is scouting locations for a cashierless grocery store in Philly and could open a location in the next two years.

  5. Rocky fans, you might want to brace yourselves for this one. After bringing Rocky Balboa to the big screen once again for Creed II, Sylvester Stallone has made an announcement about the future of the beloved character.

  6. St. Joe's basketball coach Phil Martelli gets emotional looking ahead to tomorrow's opponent. Martelli and Temple coach Fran Dunphy aren't just Big 5 rivals — they're like brothers. Now, they'll face each other for the final time.

  7. You might also want to prepare for the end of that classic clicking sound you hear while waiting for the train at 30th Street Station. The famous flipping destination board will likely be removed very soon.


"Somewhere along the line,
— we adopted the illogical notion that experience as a CEO is great ‘practice’ for the job of president of the United States. Keep in mind, however, that privately held larger companies, such as Trump Inc.
  1. Global warming has weaponized our weather and will cost us billions if those who deny it — including President Trump — don't change their minds, the Inquirer Editorial Board writes.

  2. There are steps Philadelphia should consider to end public injection of drugs that will help heal the community in Kensington, writes opinion writer Abraham Gutman.

What we’re reading

  1. ProPublica shares a wildly complex example of lethal force: an African American man with an unloaded weapon shot by a white police officer. In this shocking case, it was a fellow officer — who chose not to shoot — whose life was turned upside down.

  2. Drug overdoses in the U.S. reached new heights last year. The Guardian examines what's fueling this national crisis — one Philadelphia has become all too familiar with.

  3. Progressive Democrats now fill more seats than ever in the U.S. House. FiveThirtyEight breaks down what that means for the immediate future of American politics and the Democratic party.

  4. As a Grey's Anatomy enthusiast, it was a pleasure to read National Geographic's profile of the woman behind the series, Shonda Rhimes, and her rise to becoming a television titan.

  5. Despite the NFL's dominance, the new Alliance of American Football league will kick off early next year. PhillyVoice highlights all the former Eagles player and coaches that you can see in the AAF — including a very popular Birds quarterback.

Your Daily Dose of | Latkes

Growing up, the most important part of Hanukkah celebrations for Matt Cahn were those delicious fried potato pancakes. That's why he's serving up latkes at his Philly luncheonette the best way he knows how.