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Millions of children still struggle in low-performing schools, hindering their abilities to excel in future stages of life. History indicates that with few exceptions, real change will not occur at the school-level unless it is driven by local leaders. Enter innovation zones: locally owned, they require approval by the elected school board, their members are usually prominent local civic, community, and philanthropic leaders, and most of the schools are under the purview of local principals. Such zones are succeeding in cities as diverse as Springfield, Massachusetts; South Bend, Indiana; Los Angeles, California; and several Texas cities: Waco, Fort Worth, and Lubbock. Author David Osborne writes, “Innovation zones—with autonomy, accountability, independent boards, and extra funding—can bring improvement.” Read more.

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