Monday, March 2, 2015

POSTED: Monday, December 12, 2011, 10:14 AM

Dear Unnamed Private School,

Please stop making me love you. Really, I'm kind of committed to public school. It's free, and I'm really hoping to say "I Do" to public when my son gets to first grade, so private, could you, like, stop looking so hot?

The temptation is almost too much. I walked into your open house  hoping to hate you. Instead, I fell in love. It felt like you were inside my head when you talked about your math curriculum. You have language classes. Your students seemed like someone I'd want my son to grow up to be. And I never once worried about whether my child would be safe when he went to the bathroom there.

POSTED: Thursday, December 8, 2011, 11:05 AM

When PHiladelphia's Meredith Elementary got news about budget cuts, parents raised money to keep what they have. But what about schools that don't have those resources?

I love what these parents are doing but why should school funding vary so much? Have Lower Merion schools endured any cuts, for example?

My Inquirer colleague Kristen Graham tells the story here.

POSTED: Monday, December 5, 2011, 11:05 AM
The Hinchers, with daughter, Lucy.

I bet a lot of you have had the same experience as David Hincher and his wife. Read about their school-search saga below, and if you would like to share your own, please e-mail me a brief version of your story at Thanks.

And now, West Philadelphia's David Hincher:

My wife and I stumbled into the debate over Philadelphia schools by accident. As recent transplants, we had fallen in love with Philadelphia’s rich history and neighborhoods friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. Even the industrial decay and patina charmed us. We decided to put down roots and stay.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 6:00 PM

"One day, deep in the forest, the animals were having a discussion. It was clear who was the fiercest, most dependable and most powerful – but who was cleverest? A contest was in order…"

That's the premise behind a new book, Rabbit's Riddle, by local authors Sierra Skidmore and C'Anne Anderson. You can meet them starting at 10 a.m. at the Free Libary of Philadelphia's "Book, Paper, Scissors" Artists' book fair.

One of the authors, Sierra Skidmore, has a child in class with my son. The authors are selling the book for $10 at the fair and say they plan to write four more books. This one is aimed at children ages 4 to 8.

POSTED: Monday, November 14, 2011, 2:51 PM

Can school food be made better? Parents and educators will gather tomorrow, Tuesday, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Henry C. Lea Elementary, 4700 Locust Street, to discuss.

Participants include officials from the School District of Philadelphia and Deb Bentzel , Fair Food Farm to Institution Program Manager, and Kathy Fisher,  Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth Family Economic Security Associate.

At Philadelphia schools hot food, is shipped in from Brooklyn. Learn about that and more at tomorrow's event.

POSTED: Monday, November 7, 2011, 10:51 AM

In Southwest Center City, neighbors are trying to make their local school a place everyone wants to send their children:

POSTED: Thursday, November 3, 2011, 12:35 PM

In many classrooms, white boards have pushed aside chalkboards, and most kids do research on the Internet instead of trekking to the library to look at the World Book Encyclopedia.

Here, West Philadelphia Schools activist Amara Rockar writes about Henry C. Lea Elementary, where students and teachers are trying to raise money for computers. About 90 percent of the children there, Rockar writes, are economically disadvantaged and don't have computers at home, either, putting them at risk of falling behind in real-world skills.

The technology vacuum at Lea, Rockar says, stands in contrast to "leafy Locust Walk with its sleek buildings filled with cutting-edge technologies" at nearby University of Pennsylvania.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 6:02 PM

Looking back on my own arts education, it's small wonder that stick figures are my trademark. Every year, it seems we did the same projects in my school. We made a fall tree by gluing tissue paper to construction paper to depict fall foliage. We traced our hands to make a turkey for Thanksgiving.

At home, my mother let us run wild with Shrinky-Dinks.

I hope my son will be able to draw at least as well as he can read and write, one reason I'm glad to see so many opportunities for art in the city, including the expansion of the Fairmount Arts Center to Queen Village. We've taken a few classes at the Fairmount location, an endearing and cozy space, so we were a little chartreuse with envy to hear that the center's new Queen Village spot has 3,000 square feet of space, four studios and ten sinks. Lots of room for kids to color their worlds.

About this blog
In her 12 years at the Inquirer, Miriam Hill has written about everything from politics to gourmet chocolate (Like!) and anxious dogs (adorable trouble).

But only one topic has become a passion: the pleasures and challenges of raising a young child in the city.

Not too long after her son was born four years ago, she started hunting around for day care, which triggered her ongoing search for a good primary school. Public, private or charter? Stay in the city or move to the suburbs?

And then there are the more mundane questions, such as how many games can you play while sitting on a stoop?

Please join her in the conversation about raising children in Philadelphia and about making this city better for kids. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, but her only personal obsession is not football, but Bruce Springsteen. As he might have said, it’s hard to be a parent in the city.

You can also follow Miriam on Twitter here.

Miriam Hill
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