Innovation zones can improve failing schools

Persistently failing schools remain a problem for reformer (“What Should Our Leaders Do About Failing Schools?” educationnext.org, Sept. 9).  State takeovers in Jersey City, Paterson and Newark have proved largely ineffective.

Far more promising is the creation of achievement zones that go under various names.  By relying heavily on local input, they avoid the resentment associated with state takeovers.  They involve establishment of an autonomous district that is overseen by an appointed board, which is held accountable for performance.

There is no panacea for turning around failing schools, but innovation zones deserve serious consideration.

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