The protest that changed America | Five for Your Weekend

28th August 1963: Over 200,000 people gather around the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, where the civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom ended with Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Happy Friday, everyone!

On this day in 1963, thousands of people descended on Washington D.C. in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, paving the way for a federal civil rights bill.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the march 57 years ago today.

If you’d like to read more about the historic march, here are a few links of interest.

A Beautiful Day For A March

5 things you didn’t know about the March on Washington and MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Thousands gather for DC march on anniversary of MLK ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Cheers to a leisurely weekend,

Cassie Miller | Associate Editor

1. These are Pa.’s most — and least — equitable school districts | Thursday Morning Coffee

Across Pennsylvania, school officials are making critical decisions about how students, teachers, support staff and other critical education employees can return to the classroom. Some large districts, such as Philadelphia, are opting to start the school year entirely online. Others are opting for hybrid approaches that will combine online and in-person instruction.And while schools have received some assistance to do this critical work, the financial health of each of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts continues to differ dramatically from county to county, or even from community to community.

A new study from the financial literacy site WalletHub takes stock of our current landscape, ranking the Keystone State’s most, and least, equitable school systemsWalletHub’s analysts reached their conclusions by just two metrics:  “average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil.”

Overall, Pennsylvania ranked 24th nationwide for the equity of its school systems, the analysis found. It concluded, in terms familiar to any public education advocate that “states that provide equitable funding to all school districts can help prevent poor students from having lower graduation rates, lower rates of pursuing higher education and smaller future incomes than their wealthy peers.”

2. Filing an unemployment claim in Pennsylvania, what to do, what you need to know

PITTSBURGH — As of Aug. 8, there were more than 133,000 unemployment claims in the Pittsburgh metro area. That is down from a high of nearly 200,000 claims in mid-May, but the region is still experiencing historic levels of unemployment not seen since the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s. In June, the unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh region was 12.5 percent. It hasn’t been that high since 1983.

With so many Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians out of work during the pandemic, Pittsburgh City Paper has some helpful advice for people applying for unemployment claims. Unemployment insurance is federal money provided to those recently laid off. Both laid-off employees and gig workers who have lost income during the pandemic can qualify.

(Reminder, unemployment insurance is less generous than it was earlier in the pandemic because Congress has yet to pass another stimulus bill that would provide the extra funds. Democrats have passed a bill in the House, but the Republican-controlled Senate has yet to act.)

3. Trump doubles down on Social Security and Medicare | Ray E. Landis
Just when you think Donald Trump has reached the limits of his ability to leave a jaded public dumbfounded, he comes up with a new angle. His vow to “terminate” the payroll tax that funds Social Security and Medicare is a reminder there are still those who believe there is no place in government for programs that seek to help individuals meet their basic needs (or to implement measures to keep the public safe from pandemics, as State Representative Jim Cox opined last week). And right now, one of those true believers occupies the White House.Trump’s proposal for a payroll tax holiday is bad policy both for economic recovery and the future of Social Security and Medicare, as I wrote about just a few weeks ago.
4. White and old no more. Forget everything you think you know about Scranton

SCRANTON, Pa. — Let’s take a walk through the heart of Scranton. After all, The Electric City will be stepping into the national spotlight again this campaign season. And the Scranton you see in the national media—even on NBC’s hit show “The Office”—isn’t quite the city you’ve been sold.

The city has gotten used to the bright lights over the last few years, thanks to the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. But that spotlight hasn’t always shined on the entire city. Instead, it has been used to highlight the political narrative of an old mining and textile town that’s been lost in a world that moved past it. As any resident will tell you, there’s some truth to that, but that’s far from the whole picture.

5. Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe’

A Republican lawmaker called for Americans to exhibit “personal responsibility” to fight the COVID-19 pandemic while arguing it is the job of private businesses and individuals, not lawmakers and public servants, to implement health policy.The remarks, by Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks, came at the end of a three-hour-long hearing on the state’s beleaguered unemployment compensation system.

Cox, chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee, then spoke for almost ten minutes, arguing that Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration could not be solely focused on public safety as the “driving force behind the decisions we in government are making.”

Government reminders of the best ways to prevent the flu, such as sneezing into your elbows, were “all good and fine,” Cox said.

But, “it’s not the government’s responsibility to pass mandates, to pass orders, to try to keep us safe.”

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here Monday. 

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.