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ERIC Number: ED499363
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Pages: 57
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 58
A Philadelphia Story: Building Civic Capacity for School Reform in a Privatizing System
Gold, Eva; Simon, Elaine; Cucchiara, Maia; Mitchell, Cecily; Riffer, Morgan
Research for Action
This report was undertaken to assess the state of civic capacity for education reform in Philadelphia. It challenges community and civic sectors of the city to put aside individual interests and work together to mobilize resources to pursue the collective good of public school improvement. The report demonstrates that many of the elements contributing to civic revival and educational improvements have also created serious obstacles to civic capacity and thus, to long-term, comprehensive, sustainable reform. Four chapters comprise this report. Chapter One shows that the focus of city leaders on the middle class and on Center City Development has divided the city against itself, embracing a market approach to revitalization that intensifies divisions among neighborhoods and exacerbates a dichotomy between improvement efforts that promote economic growth and reforms that promote equity. Chapters Two and Three argue that the by adopting a market-oriented model, the School District adopted modes of interaction with parents and community members that reinforce hierarchy, privileging the district and powerful "partners" while weakening the potential for all involved in the city schools to collaborate on an equal playing field. Finally, Chapter Four identifies four guiding principles to building stronger civic capacity in Philadelphia: more transparency in decision making, more collaboration across constituencies; greater inclusiveness of community stakeholders, and the mobilization of the mayor, civic leaders and citizens to put a reform agenda into action for better schools. An appendix contains a detailed description of the methods used in this study. (Contains 85 footnotes.)
Research for Action. 3701 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Tel: 215-823-2500; Fax: 215-823-2510; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Research for Action, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania