Philadelphia’s Changing Schools and What Parents Want from Them

Jun 29, 2010

A comprehensive new study from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative finds that K-12 education in Philadelphia is undergoing a sweeping transformation that has given parents a new array of choices about where to send their children to school but has left families thinking they still do not have enough quality options.

The study, "Philadelphia’s Changing Schools and What Parents Want from Them," finds that the three largest educational systems in the city—traditional public schools, charter schools and Catholic schools—have changed dramatically in size and composition during the past decade. Only one of them, the charter schools, has been growing. Indeed, charters, which have been in existence for only 13 years, now have more students than the Catholic school system.

The report features a first-of-its-kind poll of and focus groups with parents of school-age children in Philadelphia. Among the findings of the survey are these:

  • Seventy-two percent of those polled say that parents in the city do not have enough good choices when it comes to picking a school.
  • Forty-two percent say they find it “very hard” or “somewhat hard” to get enough information about the educational options for their children.
  • Sixty-two percent of parents with children in district-run schools have actively considered sending their kids to charter, Catholic or private schools. Sixty-eight percent of African American parents and 77 percent of all parents under the age of 30 have considered doing so.

Download a PDF of the full report, Philadelphia’s Changing Schools and What Parents Want from Them.

(Bound, printed copies of the report are available. E-mail pamail@pewtrusts.org with your name and address to order a copy, free of charge.)

Download a PDF of the Executive Summary only.

Report Contents:

Foreword
Executive Summary 

  1. A Landscape Transformed 
  2. The District-run Schools 
  3. The Charter Schools 
  4. The Catholic Schools 
  5. The Outlook 

Notes 
Acknowledgements 

Read the survey questionnaire.

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