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I have visited successful charter schools all across America—in farm country, the inner city, and everywhere in between. Like the schools profiled in this guide, they have two things in common. First, they set high standards. And second, they work as long and as hard as it takes to help every student succeed, regardless of race, background, or ZIP code.
The eight schools profiled here are serving different populations, but all of them are closing the achievement gap between low-income, minority, and special needs students and their peers. By trying out innovative new strategies, these schools are blazing a trail for others to follow. They're dispelling the myth that some students can not learn and proving that if we raise the academic achievement bar, our students will rise to the challenge.
This book is one of a series of innovation guides produced by the U.S. Department of Education. Upcoming guides will feature K–8 schools that are closing the achievement gap and highlight promising practices to expand the pool of high-quality charter schools. In addition, the series will include strategies to encourage parents to help improve schools and show ways in which distance learning can increase access to rigorous course work.
I hope that educators nationwide find these examples as inspiring as I do. Together, through proven strategies like these, we will achieve our goal of every child learning on grade level by 2014.
U.S. Secretary of Education