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

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.


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.


In Education Debate, Let’s Fund Students not Districts

December 4, 2014, HARRISBURG, Pa.—In the ongoing state education funding debate, a common refrain is that more money will solve all problems. But Pennsylvania already spends $14,600 in total funding per student—nearly $3,000 more than the national average. How can even more money be the answer? It isn’t.

NOVEMBER 20, 2014 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

A Smarter Way to Fund Students

Imagine writing a large check for a new car and finding out a year later that it fails safety tests, won’t pass inspection, and needs thousands in repairs. You’d probably be demanding answers from the dealership. If the only solution they offered was the exact same car but for more money—would you take it? That’s essentially the deal Pennsylvanians are being offered on public education—disappointing results from a broken system that they’re t

NOVEMBER 10, 2014 | Commentary by JAMES PAUL

Is Second Worst Good Enough for York Students?

The second lowest-performing school district in Pennsylvania is asking for more time to improve but refusing recommended reforms. Unfortunately, more time is not something students and families in York City can afford.

OCTOBER 24, 2014 | Commentary by BOB DICK

Can Your Family Bear the Burden of Tax Increases?

Can you afford to lose the equivalent of a mortgage payment? How about four? Given a possible 188 percent increase in the state income tax rate to pay for Tom Wolf’s education spending plans, these questions could be in Pennsylvanians' futures.

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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.