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Principals Put to the Test: Will Schools Improve If They Ignore Bureaucracy?

What would happen if school principals, who know their teachers and students better than the bureaucrats, had the freedom to make their own decisions?

They could determine how much time their kids need to spend on math. They could hire extra fourth-grade teachers or buy a new reading program not yet approved by the school district. They could even plant a garden or squeeze in an extra playground break without asking school district permission.

Starting next year, it will happen in some struggling Broward and Palm Beach County schools.

The schools, mostly rated D or F, will get extra money from the state and will be exempt from many laws and policies in areas such as textbooks, curriculum and staffing.