“Apollo 20” is a Houston pilot program in which a group of low-performing regular public schools are implementing the so-called “no excuses” education model common among high-profile charter schools such as KIPP, explains Matthew Di Carlo, senior fellow at the non-profit Albert Shanker Institute, for the Washington Post. (I discussed it in a previous post, here.) In the Houston implementation, “no excuses” consists of five basic policies: a longer day and year, resulting in 21 percent more school time; different human capital policies, including performance bonuses and firing and selectively rehiring all principals and half of teachers (the latter is one of the “turnaround models” being pushed by the Obama administration); extensive 2-on-1 tutoring; regular assessments and data analysis; and “high expectations” for behavior and achievement, including parental contracts…

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