Project Details

Pennsylvania Clearinghouse for Education Research (PACER)

The Pennsylvania Clearinghouse for Education Research - or PACER - is designed to inform state education policy discussions using rigorous, objective research. PACER briefs will be decided upon through policy scans and stakeholder and policymaker input. For each issue, PACER will review the current Pennsylvania context, reforms in states nationwide, and provide research from leading scholars and nonpartisan organizations.

Publications

The nation's largest school districts have increasingly turned to building closures to address budget deficits, demographic shifts, and the movement of students to charter schools. Over the past decade, 70 large or mid-sized cities closed schools-averaging 11 buildings per closure. Here in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia's School Reform Commissioners are expected to vote in early March on a plan to close 29 schools, more than 10 percent of the district's complement. Pittsburgh, the state's second-lar…

This PACER Issue Brief - the third in a series - examines alternative teacher compensation models, specifically pay for performance. It builds on the series' first brief on teacher effectiveness to provide context, identify challenges, and answer questions about performance pay systems. We focus on what rigorous, objective research has found, and where gaps remain. As always, RFA's goal is to provide stakeholders with trusted, non-partisan information that can support emerging state and local po…

In Philadelphia, an ambitious effort to restructure the district has been proposed. The draft Blueprint for Reforming Philadelphia's Public Schools, released in April 2012, sets two distinct goals: 1) Safe, high-performing schools district-wide; and 2) The elimination of a more than $200 million budget deficit by 2014. The plan proposes to address the deficit through renegotiated contracts, increased city funding, and operational efficiencies. Like the district's reforms in the 2000s, the plan a…

Education beyond high school has become a prerequisite for stable, family-sustaining employment in the United States. Four of five jobs lost in the late 2000s recession were held by individuals whose education stopped at high school graduation, while more than half of the 3.4 million jobs gained in the recovery have gone to those with a bachelor's degree or higher.1 However, the imperative for postsecondary education is challenged by substantial pressures: rising costs and declining supports. La…

This first-in-a-series issue brief poses questions and provides research-based answers on teacher evaluation systems - a top priority of legislators during the fall 2011 legislative session. It provides a summary of research and emerging practices in other states and districts designed to provide state lawmakers, legislative staff, State Board of Education members, Department of Education officials, and other key stakeholders information they need to ensure the effectiveness of their reform effo…

This PACER Issue Brief - the second in a series - examines the national research on charter school authorization, and highlights what other states are doing in this area of school reform. It reports that as Pennsylvania policymakers grapple with the issue of charter school authorization, several factors might be taken into consideration, including accountability for evaluating authorizers, their capacity to fulfill their responsibilities, and the possibility of diversifying authorization entitie…