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New research consortium to focus on Philly's District and charter schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 19, 2014 05:59 PM

A first-of-its-kind research partnership that could prove highly influential to Philadelphia's public schools was announced Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC) – funded by a three-year, $900,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation – will "provide research and analyses on some of the city's most pressing education issues" for the city's District and charter sectors.

The nonprofit Research for Action will act as the consortium's home base.

"Up until now, any research that was done in the district was done on a piecemeal basis, project by project," said RFA executive director Kate Shaw. And it was often in the interest of "whatever researcher was doing the research."

By contrast, PERC's researchers will serve the self-identified needs of the city District and charter schools.

"They're going to tell us what they want to have done," Shaw said. "It's not driven by the research interests of RFA or anybody else. ... We exist in service to their information needs."

PERC's research agenda will be set by representatives of the Philadelphia School District and two members of the city's charter community.

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Comments (8)

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 19, 2014 8:13 pm

William Penn foundation. Partnerships in which they say what research they want done.A suggestion of a public/charter partnership. Sounds like Hite, Green, Corbett and Nutter will get whatever money can buy. That is how the corporate types get whatever they want. Money will buy anything. Nothing about this sounds good for Philadelphia families. Research is supposed to be objective. Very skeptical of this news.


"They're going to tell us what they want to have done," Shaw said. "It's not driven by the research interests of RFA or anybody else. ... We exist in service to their information needs." Creepy.



Submitted by novadust (not verified) on August 27, 2014 1:48 am

what's creepy about it? unlike u, i looked up wm penn foundation n RFA, n i learned -- surprise! surprise! -- that u don't know what u'r talking about.

Submitted by Stewart (not verified) on August 19, 2014 8:18 pm

If you read the full article, it's pretty clear what the "research" agenda of this new consortium will be...back the "rteform" movement types who make up most of its backers (you only need to see the names "Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" and "Ford Foundation" to understand where the funding really comes from.) Then when it turns out that the two charter school members of the consortium board are Naomi Johnson-Booker and Cynthia Figueroa, you can bet that anything that conflicts with the "charters good, privatization good, teachers bad" mantra won't be appearing in their research.

Submitted by inthetrenches (not verified) on August 19, 2014 9:53 pm

Johnson-Booker's salary in 2013 was  $239,652.  This is for running ONE school.  Will the research show that CEOs of charters are overpaid????

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on August 19, 2014 10:57 pm

I am gonna guess NO.

I am thinking this is not the kind of research that will serve the needs of the consortium.

Submitted by novadust (not verified) on August 27, 2014 1:51 am

u don't even need to read more than 2 paragraphs to see it's neither gates nor ford. but why would u care? it's obvious u've already made up ur mind.

Submitted by Amy (not verified) on August 20, 2014 8:02 am

Boy, when the big guys are waving around their dollars, it doesn't take long for the repectable types to start giving lap dances. 

Submitted by Andrew Saltz (not verified) on August 20, 2014 2:26 pm

Research for Action has been consistantly fantastic on the issues of funding and school closure.  I'm optomistic.

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