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

OCTOBER 28, 2016 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Ghosts in the Education Machine

If Pennsylvania students miss three days of school without an excuse, the law says they must be reported. But across the commonwealth, certain teachers have been absent for years—without consequences

OCTOBER 13, 2016 | Testimony by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Testimony: Role of Charter Schools in Education

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OCTOBER 12, 2016 | News Release

Are These 8 Pa. School Districts Piling Up Tax Dollars Like Lower Merion?

A Montgomery County judge recently ruled that Lower Merion School District misled taxpayers by stashing huge cash reserves while repeatedly hiking taxes on township residents. Could 8 other Pennsylvania school districts be doing the same thing?

SEPTEMBER 14, 2016 | Policy Memo by JAMES PAUL

Answering Questions about Education Savings Accounts

What are Education Savings Accounts -- and how can they help children in Pennsylvania?

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 | News Availability

In School Funding, Pa. High Court Must Not Usurp Legislature

As the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court hears a challenge to the state’s school funding formula today, at issue is the power of the judiciary as well as the truth about Pennsylvania’s education funding.

AUGUST 30, 2016 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Charter Reform: Get it Right

Over the next nine months, many students will have their lives transformed for the better. But for thousands of other children, this time of year is defined by disappointment. They are trapped in schools that don’t meet their needs—effectively held hostage by a system that limits choice and opportunity.

AUGUST 16, 2016 | News Release

Trapped: 5 Ways Union Contracts Trample Teachers’ Rights

As students across Pennsylvania head back to school, government unions that are supposed to speak for teachers are instead trampling their rights in order to advance the union leaders’ agenda. A review of labor contracts in Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts shows five ways these collective bargaining agreements trap teachers—and cost taxpayers:

JULY 22, 2016 | News Availability

DNC in Philly: Top 5 Ways Big-Government Policies Are Killing the Host City


As all eyes turn to Philadelphia next week for the Democratic National Convention, just steps from the Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphians are suffering from high taxes, union-controlled public schools, and a government-run liquor monopoly.

JUNE 16, 2016 | News Release

Is Your School Hoarding Cash? 42% of Districts Hold Questionable Reserves

School district reserves total $4.3 billion statewide. When cries for more school funding—and property tax increases—are constant, how much is too much to hold in reserve?

JUNE 14, 2016 | News Release

'Underfunded' Pa. Schools Spend Nearly $16,000 Per Pupil

Contradicting the claim that Pennsylvania underfunds its school system, public school spending hit an all-time high in the 2014-15 school year, approaching $27.4 billion—or $15,854 per student—according to the latest state Department of Education data.

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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.

Will Lower Standards Help Pa. School Performance?

December 9

Pennsylvania’s primary tool for grading schools –the School Performance Profile (SPP)—is being overhauled. The current SPP is not particularly straightforward, but it’s based mainly on test scores and academic growth. At the direction of Gov. Tom Wolf, the revised SPP will become ...