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14 of the Worst Schools In Philadelphia Today

Downtown city skyline panoramic view of Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA over the Schuylkill River and boardwalk

14 of the Worst Schools In Philadelphia Today

If you've ever wondered about the worst schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you've come to the right place. Now, when we say “worst schools,” the institutions on this list made this category based on measurable factors. This isn't to say that the teachers or the staff don't do everything they can with the resources they have, but test scores, graduation rates, and academic offerings say a lot about a school. While these ratings can indicate that these academic institutions are missing the mark, for colleges it's a bit harder to deem what constitutes a quality education. For the purpose of this article, we will take a look at the graduation rates, as a low graduation rate can indicate a lack of resources, support, or financial aid.

In this post, we'll do a deep dive into the academic ratings, educational resources, and other markers of success for 16 of the worst schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From elementary and charter schools through high schools and colleges, learn about the offerings from these academic institutions. We'll do a breakdown of the data that goes into the grading systems from websites like Niche or College Simply. Read on to get the low down on 16 of the worst schools in Philadelphia today.

Elementary & High Schools

Mastery Charter School – Mann Elementary

5376 West Berks Street, Philadelphia, PA 19131

Starting with Mastery Charter School – Mann Elementary, which is a public charter school. It serves grades kindergarten through 6th grade and has just under 600 students enrolled. The student-teacher ratio stands at around 16 to 1, with an overall Niche grade of D-. This grade is based on this school's grades for Teachers, Academics, and Diversity. State test scores indicate that 5% of the student body is math proficient, while 17% of the student body is proficient in reading.

John Wister Elementary School

67 East Bringhurst Street, Philadelphia, PA 19144

The John Wister Elementary School serves just under 500 students between kindergarten through the 5th grade. This public charter school has a student-to-teacher ratio of around 14:1, and testing shows a 5% math proficiency and a 12% reading proficiency. Its Niche rating is a D- based on the categories of Academics, Teachers, and Diversity.

Kipp North Philadelphia Charter School

2539 North 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19132

Next up is the KIPP North Philadelphia Charter School which has a D grade from Niche. This public charter school serves just under 500 students between the grades of kindergarten through 7th grade. Testing scores show a 15% math proficiency and a 15% reading proficiency among its students.

Mastery Prep Elementary Charter School

1801 West Pike Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140

With a D+ from Niche, Mastery Prep Elementary Charter School is one of the worst schools in Philadelphia. There are just over 450 students enrolled in grades kindergarten through 5th grade. Of the schools thus far, there is a student-to-teacher ratio of 20 to 1. The state testing indicates that only 12% of the student body showcases math proficiency, while 37% showcase reading proficiency.

Adorable happy girls in preschool sharing their color pencils while coloring and learning in the classroom
The resources afforded to students can impact their education. Many of these schools miss the mark.


Deep Roots Charter School

3556 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19134

Another charter school on this list with a low grade from Niche, the Deep Roots Charter School has a D+ rating. This public charter school has just under 400 students enrolled in kindergarten through 7th grade and the student-to-teacher ratio is around 11:1. State testing shows a 5% math proficiency and a 22% reading proficiency.

Philadelphia Learning Academy

4224 North Front Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140

The Philadelphia Learning Academy is a very small school serving 9th through 12th grade. It has a student-to-teacher ratio of 5:1.10% of the student body showcases math proficiency, while 12% showcases reading proficiency. The Niche score is a D- based on Academics, Teachers, Diversity, and the College Prep abilities of this particular Philadelphia academic institution.

People For People Charter School

800 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

The People For People Charter School has a Niche grade of D based on Academics, Teachers, Clubs & Activities, Diversity, College Prep abilities, and Administration. Serving kindergarten through 12th grade, there are just under 500 students enrolled with a student-to-teacher ratio of 16:1. State testing indicates a very low math proficiency (only 1%!) and a 14% reading proficiency from this student body.

Vaux High School

2300 West Master Street, Philadelphia, PA 19121

Vaux High School has a D+ rating from Niche. This public high school serves students in grades 9th-12th with just around 400 students enrolled. The student-teacher ratio is 24:1 and state testing indicates a 5% math proficiency among the student body of Vaux High School.

High school kids looking to teacher sitting at their desk
There are some great high schools in Philadelphia, but these list options are not among them.

©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

John Bartram High School

2401 South 67th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19142

The John Bartram High School serves grades 9th through 12th with around 500 students enrolled. The student-to-teacher ratio at this establishment is 14:1. State test scores show a 5% math proficiency, and a 12% reading proficiency among the student body of this high school. The overall Niche grade is a D+.

Murrel Dobbins CTE High School

2150 West Lehigh Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132

The Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School has over 1,000 students enrolled between the grades of 9th through 12th. The student-to-teacher ratio is around 12:1, with 5% of students showcasing math proficiency and 17% showcasing reading proficiency. Niche grades this institution a D+ based on categories including Academics, Teachers, Diversity, and College Prep.


Moving onto colleges, which aren't ranked in quite the same way, for the purpose of this list we'll be doing off the graduation rates. A low graduation rate can indicate problems with the resources, support, or financial aid options that allow for students to graduate at all. Note that some of these colleges are close to, but not directly located in Philadelphia. Still, for the Pennsylvania area, these low-rated institutions are worth knowing about. Read on to learn more about them.

Harrisburg Area Community College

1 HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17110

Harrisburg Area Community College is a public, two-year community college. It has an enrollment of around 13,000 enrolled in undergraduate programs. This institution caters to both full-time, and part-time students with a diverse group of majors including health sciences, and technology services. However, according to College Simply, this community college has a graduation rate of only 10.3%.

Community College of Philadelphia

1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130  

Next up, we have the Community College of Philadelphia. Also a two-year public college, this institution serves around 12,000 undergraduates both full-time and part-time. Its most popular majors include business and nursing, but it still has a relatively low graduation rate of 10.8% overall, which is why it has this placement on the list of worst schools in Philadelphia.

Westmoreland County Community College

145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697

Westmoreland County Community College located in Youngwood has an overall graduation rate of 12.7%. It has an enrollment of just over 4,000 students in its public, two-year associate and certificate degree programs. WCCC does have some good course offerings in nursing, the trades, and culinary arts.

Were ready to take on the real world. Shot of a diverse group of students on graduation day.
The graduation rates of these close-to-Philadelphia schools do not paint a great picture overall.

©PeopleImages.com – Yuri A/Shutterstock.com

Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

326 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

And lastly, for this list, we have the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology with a graduation rate of 13.2%. While one of the smallest on this list, with an enrollment of around 3,000 students. It is a four-year institution with both undergraduate and graduate programs. Their notable degree options include STEM fields and computer and information sciences but still don't have a high graduation rate.

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