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Pew Poll: Opinion of Philly Public Schools Hits New Low

Philly City HallThe news seems to keep getting worse for Philadelphia public schools.

As the budget crisis continues in the city of brotherhood’s schools, a new poll from The Pew Charitable Trusts said that public opinion of the city’s school system is very low — only 18%.

“In the five years we at Pew have polled the city, the school system’s ratings have never been high,” Larry Eichel, a director of Pew’s Philadelphia Program, said. “But these are the lowest yet.”

18% of those surveyed believed that the school system was doing a good or excellent job, compared to the 52% who believed that the schools were poor. 26% of those surveyed said that the schools were “only fair.”

Despite initial concern, Philadelphia schools opened on time this year, but students returned to fewer staff on hand due to massive layoffs and some confusion after the closure of 24 schools in June. A Sept. 14 Philadelphia Inquirer article said that the latest casualty in the crisis was the closure of libraries at two schools.

The school system has been in turmoil for years, and currently faces a more than $300 million hole in the budget.

However, the Pew poll said that citizens are mixed on whose fault the budget crisis actually is. 31% blame the crisis on Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter and city council; 31% place the blame on Gov. Tom Corbett and the state legislature. 21% placed the blame on school administrators and the School Reform Commission, which has controlled Philadelphia’s public schools since late 2001. The remaining 11% place the blame on labor unions that represent teachers and other school employees.

While more respondents said they would recommend living in Philadelphia to a variety of people (college students, adults with no children, older adults, etc), more respondents (48%) said they would not recommend living in the city to families raising children.

By a margin of 64% to 26%, respondents agreed with positive descriptions of charter schools over negative ones.

The survey was conducted among a sample of 1,605 city residents between July 23 and Aug. 13 via land lines and cell phones. The margin for error is plus or minus 2.5%. The report is available online at the Pew website.

5 Responses

  1. I love how people and the teacher’s union blame Republicans for the state of Philly schools. There may not be more than 5 registered Republicans in that dump of a city. Its ALL Democrat run and they squander every dollar. Go ahead and blame charter schools who are actually giving kids a real education and trying to break the cycle of poverty. Democrat in Democrat out (fraud and abuse + incompetence = Detroit)

  2. Charter schools are bleeding the public schools dry. It’s no surprise; we are running two school districts with the revenue to support one.

    And anyone that refers to public schools as “government schools” betrays that they care more about messaging and breaking teacher unions that actual public education.

  3. Pew poll shows growing Philadelphia government funded charter school support as satisfaction with the government run unionized school district bureaucracy declines.

    ” By a margin of 64% to 26%, respondents agreed with positive descriptions of charter schools over negative ones.” That margin is mostly black parents who want something better than dangerous and dysfunctional schools run by bureaucrats and unions.

    Charter schools are very popular with Philadelphia’s black parents.

  4. Philadelphia could easily solve their school budget crisis by copying Pittsburgh and adopting a Land Value property tax. This would shift the tax burden from small business and low and medium income families to property developers and speculators. At the same time, it would bring in adequate revenue to fund schools and maintain infrastructure without closing schools, laying off staff, cutting teacher salaries or borrowing more money. See and

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