“A Philadelphia Story: Building Civic Capacity for School Reform in a Privatizing System”
A report by the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Research for Action contends that numerous local organizations working on various aspects of school reform have not, for the most part, been working collaboratively in ways that have resulted in an ongoing, broad-based agenda to improve public schooling across the city.
Researchers argue that the range of school reforms and increased public engagement that resulted from the state takeover of the school district in 2001 are vulnerable now, because civic capacity to “sustain the reform agenda” has diminished, just as the city school system must deal with a fiscal crisis and adjust to a change in its top leadership.
The report lays out “guiding principles” to build stronger civic capacity in the city, including more transparency in decisionmaking, greater inclusiveness of community stakeholders, and the mobilization of civic leaders, including the mayor.
A version of this article appeared in the April 16, 2008 edition of Education Week