NEPC Review: The Third Way: A Guide to Implementing Innovation Schools (Progressive Policy Institute, October 2020)
A report from The Progressive Policy Institute is a “how-to” guide for entities seeking to develop innovation schools in urban communities. The guide highlights case examples of states and localities that have “successfully” implemented innovation schools, with a focus on test score data and student demographics. It argues that equitable educational opportunity is achievable when schools have complete autonomy and strong accountability to increase academic performance, adopt diverse learning models, and expand school choice. However, many of this convoluted guide’s long list of 53 detailed recommendations are improbable and overlook potential disadvantages of innovation schools. These recommendations are highly complicated, largely unexamined, and likely infeasible, especially if a district’s goal is to serve all students and their families equitably.