Several candidates for Mayor of New York City have recently traveled to Cincinnati to visit the city's "community learning centers," an alternative schooling model that deemphasizes testing and values school as more than just a place to learn. According to The New York Times, these schools have had moderate success in helping Cincinnati students raise their standards, although the district still lags well behind the rest of the state:
"Despite its relatively small size, Cincinnati, with roughly 30,000 students, has become a lodestar for big-city school systems across the country. Superintendents and union leaders looking for an alternative to a high-stakes, data-driven movement in education have showered the community schools model with praise, noting that it has expanded access to health care and social services, tackling problems thought to be causes of academic failure.
"As a whole, after years of poor performance and an exodus of middle-class families to the suburbs, Cincinnati has made some of the greatest gains in test scores in Ohio in recent years, even though it lags behind state averages. School officials here credit the city's embrace of the community-schools model, which is now fully in place in 34 of 55 schools in the system."