As of 2007, Cincinnati has eliminated the disparity in the graduation rates of its white and black students, while increasing its overall graduation rate from 51% in 2000 to 79% last year. School leaders turned the system around by creating smaller learning communities, respecting teachers' opinions and leadership, providing quality professional development and emphasizing accountability and student service-learning, writes Joe Nathan, who directs the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities' Center for School Change.

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