Reinventing America's Schools Creating a 21st-Century Education System

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In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the city got an unexpected opportunity to recreate its school system from scratch. The state's Recovery School District (RSD), created to turn around failing schools, gradually transformed all of its New Orleans schools into charter schools, and the results are shaking the very foundations of American education. Test scores, school performance scores, graduation and dropout rates, ACT scores, college-going rates, and independent studies all tell the same story: the city's RSD schools have tripled their effectiveness in eight years. Other cities have followed suit, from Denver to Indianapolis to Washington, D.C. States are using New Orleans–like strategies in Memphis and Camden, New Jersey, and three states have created recovery school districts modeled on Louisiana's.

In this book, Osborne tells compelling stories from New Orleans, Washington, and Denver, three of the fastest improving cities in the nation. Ultimately, he argues that in today's world we should treat every public school like a charter school, giving them autonomy, holding them accountable for student learning, letting them create diverse school models, and giving parents a choice of public schools.