PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 8, 2001 ( – The state of Pennsylvania intends to improve the troublesome record of their public schools by privatizing the top administrative jobs and placing the operations of the city’s worst schools in the hands of church, business and other community groups. The Washington Post reports that the plan approved under a state law, would be the most radical reform effort ever tried in a large public school system – the sixth largest in the nation.

Gov. Mark S. Schweiker’s takeover plan, which will begin taking effect in December follows years of failed reform efforts in the public school system. Records show that of the city’s 210,000 public school students, 57 percent fail state-mandated math and reading tests. Governor Schweiker said, “only 13 percent of the district’s high school juniors are able to read the newspapers with basic comprehension.” And that, he noted, does not include the 50 percent who drop out.

The plan calls for the school system’s top 55 administrators to be fired and replaced with managers hired by a private for-profit school management firm. Private firms would run Philadelphia’s 60 worst schools in partnership with clergy, universities, business owners or even local politicians. Principals would have the opportunity of collecting bonuses of up to 30 percent for raising student test scores and effective teachers would be offered $7,500 raises to mentor their less experience colleagues.

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