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In 2002, after years of low achievement and budget crises in the School District of Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania launched a takeover of the district. Subsequent to the state takeover, the district adopted what is known as the “diverse provider” model, turning over the management of some of the lowest-achieving schools to for-profit and nonprofit organizations and two local universities and providing additional resources to the private managers. Philadelphia became a test case for the private management of public schools and other interventions sanctioned by the No Child Left Behind Act. State Takeover, School Restructuring, Private Management, and Student Achievement in Philadelphia examines achievement effects in the privately managed schools and in two groups of schools given special support under district management, in the context of districtwide achievement trends. Four years after the state takeover, achievement results across Philadelphia had risen substantially. Within Philadelphia, the schools managed by private providers were doing neither better nor worse than districtwide achievement trends. District-managed schools given additional resources but no specific intervention were likewise doing about as well as other schools in the district. In contrast, district-managed schools given additional resources and a “restructuring” intervention showed larger achievement gains in mathematics.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Diverse Provider Model and School Reform in Philadelphia, 2002–2006

  • Chapter Three

    Districtwide Achievement Trends in Philadelphia

  • Chapter Four

    Diverse Providers and Student Achievement

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions and Implications

The research in this report was conducted collaboratively by RAND Education (a unit of the RAND Corporation) and Research for Action. It was funded by the Annenberg Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, and the Accountability Review Council for the School District of Philadelphia.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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