Philly plans overhaul of worst schools

PHILADELPHIA - August 20, 2009 The "Renaissance Schools" initiative seeks to transform those buildings by replacing entire staffs, turning them into charter schools or giving them new academic focus.

It's an approach that has already been taken in cities including Chicago and Hartford, Conn. President Barack Obama has set a nationwide goal of turning around 5,000 failing schools in the next five years using similar tactics.

Philadelphia district Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says the first cohort of redesigned schools will open a year from now. She says that should give the newly chosen Renaissance Schools Advisory Board enough time to examine data and offer solutions for the failing schools.

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