Skip to content

Contracting Out Schools: The First Year of the Philadelphia Diverse Provider Model

This research brief reports on the first year of Philadelphia’s diverse provider model. The findings are based on analysis of interviews with 20 principals in schools operated under the diverse provider model and with 10 representatives from providers and the district central office. The analysis raises many questions about the Philadelphia reform at its debut: What was the district’s role in both supporting and overseeing schools in a diverse provider model? How did a diverse provider model fit into broader district-wide reform efforts? How did the political context affect implementation? How did providers balance their control with school/principal autonomy? What was the principal’s role in a school working with a provider? How did the personal networks of principals within a district and with providers influence implementation of reforms? And, perhaps most importantly, what can this experience ‘teach’ other cities interested in implementing a diverse provider model?