PHILADELPHIA

Citywide Education Progress Report

Key Takeaways: Student and School Outcomes

Graduation rates in Philadelphia have improved over time relative to the state, but remain below the state average. School proficiency rates did not show statistically significant improvement relative to the state, and remained about 20 percentage points below state averages. Disparities also persist. Low-income students in the city are performing slightly lower in math and reading assessments than their peers nationally.  In advanced coursework in high school, black students were underenrolled, while Asian American, Pacific Islander, and students of more than one race were overenrolled.

STEPPING UP  >  CITIES  >  PHILADELPHIA  >  OUTCOMES  |  REFORMS

Is the education system continuously improving?

► The city’s graduation rate has increased over time, but in 2014-15 it was still behind the state’s.

Data: Percent of first-time 9th grade students graduating in four years, citywide and statewide.
Source: EDFacts Initiative, U.S. Department of Education, Assessment and Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rates Data, 2011-12 to 2014-15.


► Between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the city’s math performance trends mirrored the state’s. In 2014-15, the city’s proficiency rate was 21 percentage points below the state’s.

Data: The city’s estimated gains in proficiency rates across elementary and middle schools, standardized at the state level and controlling for student demographics.
Source: Pennsylvania performance data, 2012-13 to 2014-15.


► Between 2012-13 and 2014-15, the city’s reading performance trends mirrored the state’s. In 2014-15, the city’s proficiency rate was 22 percentage points below the state’s.

Data: The city’s estimated gains in proficiency rates across elementary and middle schools, standardized at the state level and controlling for student demographics.
Source: Pennsylvania performance data, 2012-13 to 2014-15.


Do students have access to a high-quality education?

► The Education Equality Index (EEI) identifies how students from low-income families are performing in cities and schools across the country. See this interactive tool to explore individual school performance.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.
Sources: Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.

► Students from low-income families in Philadelphia are performing somewhat lower in math and reading than low-income students in the average city. EEI scores in Philadelphia have decreased by 7% over time.

Data: The Education Equality Index (EEI) was supplied by Education Cities and GreatSchools. See their site for more detail.
Sources: Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2010-11 to 2014-15; National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2010-11 to 2014-15.

► In 2013-14, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and students of more than one race (shown above as “Other”) were enrolling in high school advanced math coursework at rates above their enrollment in the high school population, while black students had disproportionately low enrollment.

Data: Enrollment of students in math courses above Algebra II. Rates calculated by dividing the number of students enrolled in advanced math by the number of students in the school. Sub-group rates determined at the school level.
Source: U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Civil Rights Data Collection 2013-2014.


Data & Scoring

Where did we get this data?

► Publicly available state and federal data, making our results comparable and reproducible.

► The most up-to-date data available for all 18 cities at the time of our data collection. See Methodology & Resources for more information.

What makes the data citywide?

► We include all charter and district schools within the municipal boundary of a city.

► In Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, and San Antonio we use school data from multiple districts within the municipal boundary.

Background

About Philadelphia

In 2018, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) returned to local control for the first time in 17 years, with a new school board replacing the School Reform Commission. Severe funding challenges have dogged Philadelphia for years which, combined with falling enrollment, forced SDP to close 10% of its schools in 2013. Charter schools have been operating in the city since 1997, and now account for nearly a third of total public school enrollment.  The SDP’s Renaissance Schools Initiative is a cooperative effort between the district and high-performing charter management organizations to turn around the city’s lowest-performing schools. Since its inception in 2010, 22 Renaissance schools have opened throughout the city.

School Choice in the City

Families can choose district magnet schools, citywide charter schools, or any district school outside of their neighborhood as long as enrollment at that school is under 85% capacity.

Governance Model

The mayor appoints board members who oversee SDP schools and authorize charter schools. The new board is replacing the School Reform Commission for the 2018-19 school year.

2015 District and Charter Student Body

Enrollment: 194,557 students
Race and ethnicity: 55% black, 19% Hispanic, 14% white, 12% other
Low-income: 85% free and reduced-price lunch

2017 School Composition 

Source: Enrollment data from EDFacts, 2014-15.
School data from researcher analysis of public records, 2016-17.

The Center on Reinventing Public Education is a research and policy analysis center at the University of Washington Bothell developing systemwide solutions for K–12 public education. Questions? Email crpe@uw.edu.