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Philadelphia Launches New Ed. Research Consortium

Cross-posted from District Dossier.

Philadelphia will join the list of big cities with major research organizations dedicated to their school districts.

Research for Action, a city-based research organization, announced Tuesday that it was the recipient of  a three-year grant from the William Penn Foundation that will allow it to launch a partnership with three of the city's research universities to provide research and analyses of education issues in the city.

The announcement comes at a time when the city's public schools are slashing programs and staff to deal with steep budget cuts—and with no permanent solution to curtail a structural deficit.

The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium—or PERC— will be similar in scope and mission to other research organizations in large cities, such as the Consortium on Chicago School Research, which focuses on that city's schools; the Baltimore Education Research Consortium; and the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.

The directors of the three established organizations will provide strategic guidance to the new Philadelphia group.

Researchers from Temple University, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania will sit on the group's advisory committee and participate in the group's research, PERC said in a press release Tuesday.

The group will focus on analyses and research that are priorities to the schools—both regular public and public charter schools, the group said.

Kate Shaw, Research for Action's executive director and the founding director of PERC, said the group's work will improve the capacity of the city's public schools "to make evidence based decisions."

"Philadelphia's school leaders need support to continue to improve public education even in the face of unprecedented challenges, and the RFA is thrilled to lead the effort to provide it."

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