Philadelphia school district makes its money count

Posted on Thursday, 11/21/2013 6:59 PM

Visitors to Education Week's website will find an interactive map of the U.S., which details how each state is performing based on various factors. Although it is the news source that assigns these grades, reviewing this map can certainly give educators and parents a sense of how their state's schools are doing.

While Pennsylvania is not in the worst shape, Education Week's data shows there is room for improvement in the Keystone State's education system.

In good company
Pennsylvania was one of 19 states to receive an average letter grade of a C , according to the graphic. From Education Week's perspective, the country as a whole was also deserving of this grade.

While Pennsylvania earned a B- in both the "Chance for Success" and "School Finance" categories, its average score was weighed down by Cs in other areas, including "K-12 Achievement" and "The Teaching Profession." While not every school in the state is struggling, those that want to improve the quality of the instruction they provide would certainly be good candidates for education funding.

Learning what works
Before educators seek out financial assistance to better prepare for the transition to the Common Core State Standards or fund new classroom resources, like software for students, it helps for them to know which districts know how to spend their money wisely.

The School District of Philadelphia is one Pennsylvania school system that has a bad reputation in some parts of the state, according to The Inquirer. Many people base their opinions on the belief that the district receives a lot of money for education, and does little to produce positive academic results. However, two professors from the University of Pennsylvania believe the opposite to be true.

"Philadelphia is a story of possibility," Matthew P. Steinberg, an assistant professor at the university's Graduate School of Education, told the news outlet. "Philadelphia is doing more than less."

Steinberg and his colleague, Rand Quinn, recently presented their findings to Philadelphia's City Council Education Committee. Overall, they say that schools in the City of Brotherly Love do more with less money than other school systems that struggle academically.

"More research is needed to better understand how these districts are using their resources, but the evidence certainly suggests that Philadelphia is a good investment possibility for the state given what they're doing with their current resources," Steinberg told the news source.

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