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Innovative Schools Coming to Baton Rouge, Philadelphia

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Baton Rouge superintendent Bernard Taylor Jr. hopes to solicit proposals for innovative schools in his district as a way to compete with charter schools there, according to an article from The Advocate.

Details on the proposal are sketchy, and it has yet to be voted on by the school board. The schools would operate similar to charter schools in that they would have greater autonomy over hiring and instructional practices, but they would remain part of the district-run schools.

Baton Rouge has faced many challenges in the past several years, including the threat of takeover by the state's Recovery School District and a splintering of the district into multiple, smaller districts. The districts that have been formed from the larger Baton Rouge district tend to serve mostly white, affluent students.

A similar proposal is being considered in Philadelphia, where the School Reform Commission there has greenlighted three small innovative schools that will focus on inquiry- and project-based learning, according to The Notebook.  

Those moves are part of a broader national trend we recently reported on here at Education Week about a second wave of innovation zones spreading across the United States. In many of the states that have embraced the trend (at least six so far) the schools are seen as an alternative to charters or a way to attract students back into the traditional district-run schools. 

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