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Elevate 215 Report Identifies Key Ways The Next Mayor Can Move Schools Forward

Family survey highlighted in report shows 91% believe mayoral candidates must offer a plan to improve education and a majority of parents (64%) say schools are on the wrong track


Philadelphia, March 28, 2023Reflecting an emerging consensus among families about the future of  education, a report released today by Elevate 215 identifies six priority areas where the next mayor can take action to move schools forward, and highlights a survey where 64% of parents believe Philadelphia schools are “on the wrong track,” with 91% of those surveyed saying they intend to make education reform a key factor in deciding who should be the city’s next Mayor.

The Elevate 215 report, “Move Schools Forward,” includes the results of a survey of more than 400 Philadelphia families with children in schools of all types – public (including charter schools), private, and parochial – that shows parents increasingly are uniting to demand high-quality instruction and safe schools as basic rights that should be provided to all Philadelphia students.

“What surprised us most of all is the degree of consensus among parents and what they want for their children. Regardless of where their children attend school, parents are united in seeking a modern educational experience that prepares their children to thrive in the classroom and in life. They are demanding high-quality instruction in safe and welcoming schools, and it is a key factor in how they intend to vote for the next mayor of Philadelphia.”
Dr. Stacy E. Holland, Executive Director of Elevate 215

Elevate 215 shared the survey results with educational and business leaders, and their feedback mirrored what the parents stated as the top priorities for the next mayor to create a comprehensive education strategy for all Philadelphia schools.

“The really interesting thing about the data shared in this report is it shows families are not only aligned in their priorities from across different backgrounds, but they understand the urgency for schools to accelerate learning to prepare students for college and a meaningful career. While parents are still concerned about catching students up and closing learning gaps, they know that schools with great teachers, safe environments, and a robust curriculum give their children the best opportunity to succeed beyond their K-12 school experience.”
Dr. Donald Guy Generals, President of the Community College of Philadelphia

The survey’s findings include:

  • When asked about the most important things about schools, parents consistently identify three themes across question types:
    • Curriculum and instructional practices;
    • Student safety; and
    • Teacher quality.
  • An overwhelming majority of parents report that “school safety (91%), teacher quality (90%), and curriculum and instructional practices (82%)” are main considerations in deciding where to send their children.
  • 95% of Philadelphia families want schools that create modern learning experiences that prepare students for the real world, but a majority (51%) of Philadelphia parents currently do not feel their children are being prepared to “thrive in life.”
  • 91% of parents agree that “In the upcoming mayoral election, a candidate’s plan for improving the education system in the city is key to earning my support.”
  • A majority of parents feel that Philadelphia schools are on the wrong track (64%).
“Elevate215’s Move Schools Forward report comes at a critical time. Anyone engaged in advancing public education in Philadelphia should read it. It amplifies the voice of parents and families while summarizing key facts that all local government and civic leaders and candidates for office should know.”
Pedro Ramos, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Foundation

In reliance on the survey results and reaction from leaders across the city, Elevate 215 proposes the following Action Steps as part of a comprehensive education strategy for the next mayor to Move Schools Forward:

  • Set a Citywide Vision for Schools that aligns education, civic, business labor, philanthropy, and families/communities; includes the appointment of an aligned Board of Education; and creates a cabinet-level Chief Education Officer;
  • Increase the Number of High-Quality Schools by investing in high-quality instruction to deliver modern learning experiences that are proven to be successful; and engage and empower families by providing better information about school options and enrollment;
  • Invest in Safe and Modern Facilities, starting with the creation of a master facilities plan that includes new construction, building renovations, and consolidation or adaptive reuse of schools citywide;
  • Improve Student Safety, both in terms of physical safety to, from and in school, but also increasing supports for basic student physical and behavioral health needs;
  • Implement a Citywide Teacher Recruitment and Retention initiative to address the critical teacher shortage in Philadelphia; and
  • Advocate for Equitable Funding, both in Harrisburg and Washington, that fairly funds public district and charter schools in Philadelphia.

You can read the full report here, and to go deeper on findings in the survey visit the Move Schools Forward report page here.