The State of Education in Philadelphia, 2019

The State of Education in Philadelphia, 2019
Teacher Rob Krauss
Lexey Swall

Overview

For years, civic leaders have been concerned about the level of education among Philadelphia residents. Twentyeight percent of Philadelphians 25 or older have at least a bachelor’s degree—a lower percentage than in many U.S. cities—and 16 percent of Philadelphians have completed some college credits but do not have a degree. Sixteen percent of the degrees awarded by Philadelphia’s colleges and universities are in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math; this rate is among the lowest of our comparison cities. The vast majority of the city’s K-12 students attend schools run by the School District of Philadelphia. That number has been decreasing for a decade as more students enroll in publicly funded charter schools.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
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Getting Into High School in Philadelphia

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In the School District of Philadelphia, students are not required to attend a particular high school. A wide—and potentially bewildering—variety of choices confronts eighth-graders and their parents. To go anywhere other than their neighborhood high schools, they must identify the options they think fit their needs and apply to them.