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$9.8 Million in Pew Grants To Support Phila. Reforms

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The Pew Charitable Trusts awarded an $8.8 million grant last week to support the Philadelphia public schools and $1 million for a campaign to build public support in the city for school reform.

Robert B. Schwartz, the director of Pew's education program, said the grants reflect the Philadelphia-based foundation's confidence in the "children achieving agenda" that Superintendent David W. Hornbeck has set and the trusts' commitment to standards-based reform.

The two gifts bring the trusts' contributions to school-reform efforts in Philadelphia to more than $40 million over the past decade.

The Philadelphia Education Fund, a private, nonprofit public education fund, will ACT as the fiscal agent for the $8.8 million grant. The fund is the result of a merger in March of PATHS/PRISM, a public education fund, and the Philadelphia Schools Collaborative, a group working to break down the district's large high schools into smaller schools-within-schools. (See Education Week, Nov. 18, 1992.)

Using the Money

Pew's gift to the Philadelphia Education Fund will help pay for the development of districtwide academic standards and professional-development activities that help teachers and administrators implement the standards.

It also will count toward matching requirements for the city's participation in the "Annenberg Challenge."

The Annenberg Foundation awarded the city's schools a $50 million grant earlier this year with the stipulation that they raise $100 million in matching funds. The Pew grant brings the amount raised to more than $54 million. (See Education Week, Feb. 1, 1995.)

The separate $1.1 million grant, which will not count toward the match, will go to the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition for an advocacy campaign to build awareness and understanding about school reform among the city's parents, teachers, civic leaders, elected officials, business and higher-education leaders, and other community members.

A Nov. 1 editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper headlined "Try, Try Again" praised the move, calling it "remarkable" given what it said were the disappointing returns on Pew's previous investments in the district.

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