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Learning from Philadelphia’s School Reform: What Do the Research Findings Show So Far?

For researchers seeking to examine the effects of the school and district interventions spelled out in the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, there is no better place to look than Philadelphia’s public school system. The district, the nation’s ninth largest with 182,000 pupils, has become a veritable research and development test-bed for the range of far-reaching initiatives made available under the law to turn around low-performing schools and districts. In Philadelphia’s case, NCLB reinforced preexisting state legislation that widened state prerogatives to intervene in distressed districts.