Beware of education miracles. Too often, there's less there than meets the eye. Remember the extraordinary gains in test scores and lowered dropout rates in Houston schools more than a decade ago? They became the model for the federal No Child Left Behind Act and catapulted the schools' superintendent, Rod Paige, to his position as U.S. secretary of Education at the beginning of the George W. Bush administration.
Only years later was it discovered that schools were recording students as having "transferred" when they had in fact dropped out, and that students who were expected to do badly on standardized tests were often kept from taking them.
Then there was Atlanta's schools superintendent, who won a national award for the gains made by her students. That was before investigators determined in 2011 that there had been rampant cheating by teachers and principals throughout the school district.