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

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Overcoming the Philadelphia School Crisis

Think there's a problem with Philadelphia's schools? You're not alone. More than half of Philadelphia voters said their schools deserved a D or an F grade in a poll released last month. These problems won't be solved simply with increased funding - that remedy has already been tried. It's time for a new approach.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 | Policy Brief by ANDREW LEFEVRE

Ten Thousand Lifeboats

Improving Students' Educational Futures via Pennsylvania's Scholarship Tax Credit Programs

EITC Success

In 2001, Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to enact an education tax credit aimed at corporations. Since then, the popular Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program has provided more than 430,000 scholarships to students from low- and middle-income families across the commonwealth seeking the right school for their child.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 | Commentary by NATHAN BENEFIELD

Misconceptions Cloud School Funding Debate

Would you believe that nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania’s voters underestimate how much money we spend on schools? Shocking but true, according to a new poll testing the public’s knowledge of school funding facts.


Six Facts About Voters' Views on State Education Spending

Nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania voters underestimate the amount the state spends on education. And when informed of the facts, support for boosting education funding by hiking taxes dropped significantly.


Poll: Voters Vastly Underestimate Education Spending, Majority Grade Schools D or F

August 26, 2014, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Nearly three-quarters of Pennsylvania voters underestimate the amount the state spends on education, according to a poll released today by the Commonwealth Foundation. And, in a stinging rebuke to the status quo, 53 percent of those polled grade Pennsylvania’s public school system a D or F overall when informed of student achievement levels.

AUGUST 11, 2014 | Commentary by PRIYA ABRAHAM

For Teachers, Knowledge is Power

Like any other group of professionals, teachers are a diverse lot, holding vastly differing social, cultural, and political views. So why is it that they’re lumped together and forced to join state and national teachers’ unions that often don’t reflect local teachers’ concerns?

AUGUST 6, 2014 | News Availability by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

Funding Advance Band-Aid Won’t Stop Philly Schools' Bleeding

With 80 percent of students failing to make proficiency in reading and math despite a $1 billion revenue increase over ten years, Philadelphia’s public education crisis is at a peak. Today’s funding advance will allow schools to open on time in September, but it doesn’t address the School District of Philadelphia’s decade-long trend of higher costs and dismal performance that has brought it to the brink of failure.


Cigarette Tax Won't Save Philly Students

August 1, 2014, PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—With a shocking 80 percent of students unable to read and do math at grade level, the School District of Philadelphia has a genuine crisis on its hands that must be addressed. But, over the past decade, trends in student achievement and school funding show that throwing more money at a failing system is not the answer.


Philadelphia School Trends, 2002-03 to 2012-13

The School District of Philadelphia is in desperate need of reform, but its many problems cannot be solved by simply raising taxes and increasing spending.

JULY 25, 2014 | Commentary by ELIZABETH STELLE

Taxing Business Won’t Save Students

Paul Battista told a Congressional subcommittee last year: “We can now pay a higher family-sustaining wage! We have people working for us that are the primary breadwinners of their household.” But each year, Paul’s family business—and that of countless job creators—is threatened by efforts to bolster school funding by raising business taxes.

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Who are We?

The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania's free-market think tank.  The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.