Local School Receives Celebrity Bail Out

It’s no secret that Chester Upland School District is in dire straits.

Devoid of any clear solution for their ever-growing financial hole and largely clueless as to how they’ll remain open through June, the district made national news when teacher Sara Ferguson told the press that she and other district teachers would continue to work (without pay) to keep the schools in session.

But then, in an unlikely scenario that’s apparently only slightly less unlikely than public education getting their act together, Ellen DeGeneres swooped in and saved the day.

During Thursday’s broadcast of her daytime show, DeGeneres awarded Columbus Elementary (Ferguson’s school) with $100,000 from sponsor JCPenney.

Add this to the $5000 personal gift Ferguson received from the talk show host and Michelle Obama’s invite to have the local teacher in tow for last week’s State of the Union address, and we’ve got a pretty solid case for what happens when the good of one group (teachers) nabs the attention of what seems to be a celebrity-fueled bail out program.

This isn’t the first time a celebrity has dropped cash to benefit a struggling school district, either. Almost two months ago, teen dream Justin Bieber gave $100,000 (more chump change) to a school in Las Vegas during a 2011 broadcast of DeGeneres’s show. The common thread, again, being DeGeneres and her apparent clarity on a situation that our government can’t quite grasp.

While we’re totally on board with the goodness of heart that seems to be present in our society’s wealthiest crowd, we have to point out how ridiculous things have gotten for public education. At least in Philadelphia we are attempting to raise money for the district by way of not-so-traditional means; even if it does involve keeping bars open an hour later and fueling our already-existing problem with late night antics in the more nightlife-centric areas of our city. One problem at a time, we say; if extending last call means funding our schools, the ends certainly justify the means (and our now-worsened hang overs).

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AroundPhilly Staff

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