Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Check out the fall edition of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, which is focusing on evaluating how well privatization has worked for Philly's neediest schools.

The Notebook reports that privatization has not had the effect the Philadelphia School Reform Commission intended when it handed the keys to the worst-performing schools over to a handful of private organizations ranging from for-profit (i.e. Edison) to universities:
This summer’s announcement of 2006 results on the PSSA exam and of whether schools met their performance targets for adequate yearly progress reinforced a prior trend. As measured by test scores, the gap is widening between most District schools and the low-performing schools singled out for reform in 2002 that are now under private management.

The percentage of students scoring proficient or better on both reading and math is now 19 points lower in the privately managed schools than the rest of the District’s schools, compared to 16 points in 2002 (see test score gains).

Implications for New York and this story: Bloomy should be keeping a close eye on Philly. It makes total sense, when you think about the mayor as the very model of a modern neoliberal, that he would want to centralize control over schools and then use that control to hand the keys to private companies. But New Yorkers are very savvy about numbers. Will they be as patient as Philadelphians with private companies who don't perform as promised?

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