The Philadelphia school reforms are on the right track. In 2002, before the school reforms on which I led the effort were put in place, only 29 percent of students were advanced/proficient in reading and 19.5 percent in math. Today, 38 percent of students are advanced/proficient in reading and 41 percent in math.
Today, more pupils are graduating; first-year teacher retention has increased; more students are taking Advanced Placement courses; the number of charter schools has increased; faith-based partnerships have grown; and the number of home and school associations has doubled. Perhaps most significantly, poor and disenfranchised Philadelphians finally have more good choices and options, a phenomenon usually reserved only for the rich or the politically connected. In 2002, Philadelphia had 38 high schools with an average population of about 1,700 students; today we have 82 high schools with an average student population of 800, and half with fewer than 500 students.
This is not to suggest that our work is over. Getting more resources to our schools is a great place to start. As mayor, I will support transferring more than $100 million in new funding to our school system from the city to make, at long last, the investments our children deserve. I will use these resources to lower class size, modernize our classrooms, make investments in early childhood education, and end our high school dropout crisis.