Why Chester Matters
What we do here, could matter there.
“We are small, but growing annually, with an outsized ambition to have a huge impact on the current and growing crop of children and on the district itself. Chester is not going to become a larger geography, but it can be a wondrous proving ground and it can be a great triumph to get one’s arms around its problems…”
Maurice G. Eldridge ‘61
The Chester Fund Chairman
Vice President, College and
Executive Assistant to the President
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
Set apart from the glow of prosperity, Chester is a town once full of promise that now keeps company with some of the country’s most challenged cities: > St. Louis, MO > East Chicago, IL > Detroit, MI > Flint, MI > Camden, NJ
Census Bureau’s State and Metropolitan Area Data Book:
The violent crime statistics, which tallied murder and manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, showed Chester, PA, with the HIGHEST rate — 2,525 per 100,000 people.
Source: ©2010 Scripps Newspaper Group: Online
The City of Chester has suffered decades of decline starting in the 1960s, earning an unshakable reputation for debilitating poverty, high crime, unemployment, poor public health, declining housing stock, stagnant economic development and a weak public-school system.
- With a median per capita income of $13,400, Chester ranks among the poorest cities in the nation.
- 78% of all children enrolled in district schools meet Federal poverty guidelines.
- Nearly 45% of matriculating freshmen at Chester High School will drop out, and testing indicates that most of those who do graduate do not receive an adequate education.
- Listed as “distressed” under the PA Education Empowerment Act, the school district is regularly ranked within the bottom three of 501 school districts in Pennsylvania.