An innovative partnership designed to
provide research and analyses on some
of the city’s most pressing education issues has been forged among the School District of Philadelphia, the city’s charter school sector, and a Philadelphia-based, nationally-respected education research organization.
Research for Action (RFA) received a three-year grant from the William Penn Foundation to establish this partnership–designated the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, or PERC.
PERC will draw on the rich research expertise in Philadelphia–both within RFA and from three of the city’s major research universities–to conduct research that meets the information needs identified by representatives of Philadelphia’s public schools.
Its creation is groundbreaking for a number of reasons. First, PERC’s research agenda is driven entirely by the city’s school district and charter schools, not the interests of researchers. This orientation will ensure that PERC will provide timely, actionable analysis aligned with the highest priorities of Philadelphia’s educators.
Second, PERC includes an unprecedented partnership with Temple University, Drexel University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The universities will sit on the Research Advisory Committee, and their researchers will participate in PERC projects as well.
“With the launch of PERC, Philadelphia is joining a cadre of other major cities, including Chicago, New York City, Baltimore, and Los Angeles, that have the benefit of an organization devoted exclusively to improving the capacity of its public schools to make evidence-based decisions,” said Kate Shaw, RFA’s executive director and the founding director of PERC. “Philadelphia’s school leaders need support to continue to improve public education even in the face of unprecedented challenges, and RFA is thrilled to lead the effort to provide it.
Directors of three similar research consortia–the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, the Research Alliance for New York City Schools, and the Chicago Consortium for School Research–will also provide strategic guidance.