Ambitious Goals for New Philadelphia School Partnership
With how many grains of salt should one take the proclaimed goal of a new group to make "Philadelphia the highest performing city in the country in terms of educational achievement by 2015"?
It reminds one a bit of those old Soviet five-year plans, in which stupendous growth was always forecast, and progress would always march on.
Let's hope for the best for the new Philadelphia School Partnership—a collaboration among business leaders, foundations, city leaders and public, charter, and parochial schools—which was established last week. The new organization, which was launched with $16 million in anonymously given seed money, set a five-year goal to raise $100 million and invest in initiatives to boost student performance.
"The Philadelphia School Partnership speaks, acts, and stands for quality education for the children of Philadelphia, wherever they attend school," said Mike O'Neill, chairman of the Philadelphia School Partnership board of directors. "This organization is a public recognition that we share more educational goals than differences and that now, more than ever, Philadelphia has to pull together to support this common agenda."
One of a burgeoning number of public-private partnerships for schools, Philadelphia's partnership plans to monitor schools' student achievement and invest in the most promising. Will this strategy help every child become college-ready, or will it only reinforce schools and students who are already doing well? In addition, how well can businesses and educators work together to improve student achievement? Beyond the broad vision, can they collaborate well on nuts-and-bolts teaching and learning?