By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new report says there’s a wide gap between Philadelphia’s neighborhood high schools, and its magnet and special-admission schools.

“We’re forced to work with minimal resources, but we’re supposed to have high expectations,” said Roxborough High School senior Devin Bannerman.

Philadelphia’s 19 neighborhood high schools are more likely to have students who need English language help, have special education needs, or have been involved in the child welfare system.  A report by the advocacy group Public Citizens for Children and Youth says more than half of the city’s students go to neighborhood high schools, over special-admission or magnet schools.  So PCCY executive director Donna Cooper says extra resources should be targeted to neighborhood high schools first, to get the most bang for the buck.

“If Philadelphia is going to move the needle on its graduation rate, the place to do that is in the typical neighborhood high school that is still struggling to get all of its students to graduation and with skills,” said Cooper.

The report says neighborhood high schools struggle with needier students and higher principal turnover than Philadelphia’s magnet and special admission high schools.

“What we believe, is that the patterns that contribute to the magnet high schools being successful need to be in place in the neighborhood high schools,” said Cooper — including investing in more counselors and teachers once a state budget is passed.

The report also recommends creating a district-level position to oversee neighborhood high schools.


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