PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – According to The New York Times, charter schools were first conceived 20 years ago and, although they are public schools, they’re independently operated. They are “incubators of innovation…to invigorate neighborhood schools.”

The Houston public schools are the first in the country to test whether strategies proven successful in high-performing urban charter schools can help raise achievement in traditional schools. Currently in its second trial year, 11 elementary schools are involved with a similar effort beginning in Denver.

Houston is the birthplace of KIPP schools, Knowledge is Power Program, which provides a model for “No Excuses.” School begins earlier and ends later and some students return on Saturdays; many have tutors. They also win prizes for attendance.

To date, most results are good, and although Washington DC and New York declined such an experiment, Terry Grier, Houston’s superintendent is showing courage in experimenting.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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