Parents Give Low Safety Ratings to Philly Public Schools

PHILADELPHIA—A recent survey conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts revealed that school safety in the School District of Philadelphia is a major concern among parents.

The Pew study, “Philadelphia’s Changing Schools and What Parents Want from Them,” surveyed 802 parents with school-age children to determine how parents view traditional public, charter and Catholic schools.

Less than one-third of parents whose children attend public schools gave those schools high scores for dealing with safety concerns. However, 67 percent of parents with children in charter schools and 73 percent of parents with children in Catholic schools said they were satisfied with school safety.

Eighty-seven percent of white parents were satisfied with their children’s school as opposed to 63 percent of African American parents. Additionally, 58 percent of parents under the age of 30 rated their children’s schools as fair or poor.

Within the past 10 years, Philadelphia public schools have seen a 19 percent drop in enrollment, falling from 200,435 in the 2000-01 school year to 162,662 in the 2009-10 school year. Since 2000, charter schools have seen a 170 percent increase in enrollment, replacing Catholic schools as the top education alternative.

Sixty-two percent of parents with children in district-run schools have actively considered sending their kids to charter, Catholic or private schools. Sixty-eight percent of African American parents and 77 percent of all parents under the age of 30 have considered doing so.

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