Our Work

Excellent Schools PA is a non-profit, non-partisan, organization fighting to ensure that every student in the Commonwealth, regardless of zip code, has access to an excellent education. We are fueled by the belief that high-quality schools can change the trajectory of students’ lives and transform a community.

Unfortunately, we have students trapped in schools that are failing to prepare them for a successful future. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has identified a score of 70 on the School Performance Profile as the benchmark for school quality, tragically 51 percent of schools failed to meet this standard. That is 51 percent of our public schools which are failing to meet the minimum standard for school quality.

The percentage of students who were able to demonstrate grade-level English language arts skills in the 2016-17 school year was 63 percent. Even more concerning is the percentage of PA students who were able to perform grade-level math skills last year, which was only 46 percent. And of the 660 high schools in the Commonwealth, 218 had a graduation rate of less than 90 percent.

We have a long road ahead of us but every student deserves to attend an excellent school and we will fight to make that a reality in PA.

What is an excellent school?

1An excellent school can exist in every sector, both public (district and charter) and private.
2An excellent school is a pillar of its community and an institution where students feel safe and supported, and families are proud to send their children.
3An excellent school provides an atmosphere of excellence by setting high standards for students and school personnel, and allocates resources to achieve success.
4An excellent school is home to exceptional educators who are dedicated to preparing every student with the knowledge and skills to be successful in their future endeavors – – postsecondary education, career or military service.
5An excellent school is home to exceptional educators who are dedicated to bringing out the full potential of each child.

How can we ensure that every student in PA has access to an excellent school?

Ensure the following conditions exist in the Commonwealth:

Equal access and empowerment

Statewide reforms that allow for the growth of high-quality school options, so families have the ability to access the educational environment that best meets the needs of their children. Promote parent and community involvement in their local school networks.

School-based accountability

Equip families and taxpayers with a comprehensive rating system for every public school, to ensure that schools are held accountable for the achievement of their students and the use of taxpayer dollars. PA’s chronically low-performing public schools must be required to undergo meaningful and research-based interventions, and establish a pathway for the state to restructure a public school that fails to make significant improvements.

Stable, adequate and predictable funding

Increase the percentage of state funding that is distributed through the Basic Education Funding Formula to ensure schools receive equitable resources and, whenever possible, earmark state funds for research-based initiatives and programs to improve the classroom experience.

A sufficient pipeline of teachers and leaders

Create a pathway to cultivate the best talent in our teacher and school leader prep programs, and protect and reward the most effective educators in our schools.

Entrepreneurially-enabled schools

Relieve schools from burdensome mandates that divert time and energy away from initiatives to promote academic achievement.

Stand with us