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ERIC Number: ED615721
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2021-Sep
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Black Minds Matter: What Should Our Leaders Do about Failing Schools?
Osborne, David
Progressive Policy Institute
For much of the last two decades, beginning with the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2002, the top political leaders have shown concern about children stuck in failing public schools. NCLB required districts to do something -- not enough, but something -- about those schools. Millions of children still languish in low-performing schools, where they are less likely to develop the skills or habits necessary to get into college or the military or succeed in anything but low-paying jobs. Most of them are from low-income families, many of them Black or Brown. It has been learned, over the past three decades, that with few exceptions, real change will not occur unless it is driven by local leaders. Takeover districts with wholesale replacement of existing schools can work, but the political backlash they unleash makes elected leaders leery of them. In their absence, state leaders should do two things. First, make it painful for districts to let their worst schools stagnate, by closing them, handing them to nonprofit operators, or appointing a new school board. Second, give districts an attractive path to turn those schools around by encouraging them to create "innovation zones," in which schools have the flexibility they need to change, and ensuring that those schools are accountable for performance by appointing a zone oversight board that can replace them if they fail or help them replicate if they succeed. This report suggests that the task for state policymakers is simple. They must give districts a tool they can use, in the form of legislation to allow innovation zones, and incentives to use that tool. If they ignore this opportunity, they will sentence millions of poor children to inadequate educations that, for most, will result in lifetimes of poverty.
Progressive Policy Institute. 600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Suite 400, Washington, DC 20003. Tel: 202-547-0001; Fax: 202-544-5014; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Progressive Policy Institute
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee (Memphis); Louisiana (New Orleans); New Jersey; Massachusetts; Michigan; Virginia; Nevada; North Carolina; Georgia; Colorado (Denver); Texas; Indiana
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A