An article from the American Prospect here advocates looking to locally funded and locally controlled schools that are doing well. A number of examples are given, and the point is made that flashy reforms don’t last; slow and steady is the way to go.
As a high school English teacher for 37 years, I really like this article. It’s very sensible, and a welcome answer to all of the new ideas for reform swirling around.
I just want to add one more suggestion: Make the development of a love and habit of reading a priority in schools. You do that by assigning a good deal of independent reading—reading where children choose their own books, and spend lots of time in school reading and discussing these books.
This is the one change that will make reading scores—and most other scores—soar. Reading is the core skill that allows the flowering of all other academic interests.