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

MARCH 18, 2015 | News Release by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

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.

FEBRUARY 17, 2015 | Policy Points by COMMONWEALTH FOUNDATION

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 Although spending levels are high, the system for distributing state funding is outdated.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

JANUARY 8, 2015 | Commentary by KEITH WILLIAMS

Lawmakers: Mary's Law is Worth Fighting For

As a teacher, a father of kids in public schools, and a taxpayer, I urge all our elected officials to join me in standing up for what’s right. Pass a paycheck protection law and restore fairness and transparency to the collective bargaining table, and do it now.

DECEMBER 11, 2014 | Commentary by BOB DICK

Pennsylvanians Deserve True Fairness

Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to pursue success in our state. While Gov.-elect Wolf's intentions echo this noble sentiment, many of his proposals fall far short of his vision.

DECEMBER 9, 2014 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Teachers' Unions: The Common Roadblock to Reform

From Philadelphia to York to the Pittsburgh suburbs, parents and taxpayers are looking to improve public education without breaking the bank. But there’s a common roadblock standing in their way: Teachers’ unions are consigning students to some of the worst-performing schools in the state—all to retain their iron grip on power.

DECEMBER 4, 2014 | Testimony by NATHAN BENEFIELD, JAMES PAUL

School Funding Reform & Weighted Student Funding

Testimony of Nathan Benefield, Vice President of Policy Analysis, and James Paul, Senior Policy Analyst

Pennsylvania's education system is not underfunded, but it certainly is broken and irrational. Only by implementing a Weighted Student Funding model—and following the lead of other states who have moved toward a smarter funding method—can the commonwealth construct a more efficient and effective system to fund a first-class education for all of its students.

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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.