The man responsible for turning around the worst high school in Los Angeles is not an educator. He is a charter school leader who challenged a large, established bureaucracy and won. But the keys to his success can be implemented from within any large school system just as easily as from outside it: smaller school size, high expectations for every student, more parent involvement, and teachers who believe every child can learn.

Steve Barr, the founder and chairman of Green Dot Public Schools, a collection of charter schools, is a big guy with lots of charisma and panache.

He convinced the Los


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