Education writer Jay Mathews presents two formulas that appear to be helping low-income students achieve. In one, the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of small public high schools are exempt from most standardized tests and assess students based on a literacy essay, social studies research paper, science experiment and other methods. The second model, KIPP schools, is a network of charter schools known for longer school days and years and for giving principals more autonomy over staffing.

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