Center for Educational Excellence

The Center for Educational Excellence strives to implement reforms that create greater incentives for schools to respect parents and students as customers; encourage continuous quality improvement, parental involvement, and respect for teachers as professionals; and use taxpayers’ resources more efficiently.

Research Items

MAY 19, 2015 | Policy Points by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Education Spending & Academic Achievement

Increased education spending has not led to improved academic performance. This is reflected in SAT scores and NAEP results, as well numerous studies at the state, national, and international level. To improve academic performance, policymakers should pursue a student-based funding formula, mandate relief, and expanded school choice.

MAY 11, 2015 | Policy Points by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Release Time: Diverting Public Resources to Unions

In Pennsylvania, government unions enjoy a number of legal and political privileges. Among these government-granted privileges is the practice of “release time,” which permit government unions to utilize public resources to support their private operations.

MAY 5, 2015 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Wolf's Education Doctrine

Governor Wolf has wasted little time crystalizing his vision for public education—and it doesn’t look promising for families supportive of school choice. If his first few months are any indication this much is certain: Wolf is hostile to schools of choice, cozy to union interests, and wedded to the educational status quo.

MARCH 30, 2015 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Our Undemocratic Teachers' Unions

Is American democracy under assault? That’s a question often asked when businesses exert political influence, unelected bureaucrats misuse power, or reporters engage in slanted storytelling. It’s time to add public-school unions to the list: These undemocratic interest groups dominate America’s urban education system to the detriment of students across the nation.


Stunning Violence in York City Signals Need for Meaningful Reform, not More Funding

March 18, 2015, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Would you send your child to a school district that teaches 8 percent of the county’s students yet accounts for 87 percent of its student assaults? In 2012-13, York City School District tied for second-lowest in academic performance in the state. New research reveals that York City is also one of the most violent school districts i

FEBRUARY 18, 2015 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

New Charter School Proposals Offer Hope for Thousands in Phila.

This afternoon, Philadelphia families who have endured enrollment lotteries and thousand-student waiting lists may finally be granted more education options, as Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission will rule on 39 pending applications for new charter schools.


Student Funding Reform

Pennsylvania ranks among the nation’s leaders in education spending per student. Although spending levels are high, the system for distributing state funding is outdated. Weighted student funding (WSF) is a method for distributing education dollars that promotes fairness and transparency.

FEBRUARY 11, 2015 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Wolf’s Gas Tax Won’t Help Students, but Will Kill Their Job Opportunities

Today, Governor Wolf unveiled his plan to impose a natural gas severance tax on Pennsylvania’s most promising industry to boost funding for public schools. He, unfortunately, rehashed disproven campaign rhetoric on a mythical $3 billion in education funding cuts under his predecessor Gov. Corbett to justify his plan.

JANUARY 29, 2015 | Commentary by JOHN BOUDER, JAMES PAUL

After 50 years of Union Control, Philly Schools Still Failing

Academic failure, school violence, and financial mismanagement have been the dubious hallmarks of the School District of Philadelphia for decades. In that time, there has been one constant actor fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain the unacceptable status quo in Philadelphia’s education system: the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

JANUARY 22, 2015 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Philly Classrooms Out $200 Million, PFT Declares Victory

In a blow to education reform in Philadelphia, the Commonwealth Court ruled that Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission did not have the power to cancel the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ contract last year, preventing an estimated $200 million from reaching classrooms over the next four years. About the ruling PFT Presiden

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Who are We?

The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank.  The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.