Urban Prep's Isreal Durley (class of 2011)
Urban Prep is a smashing success story. It is well documented (here, here, here, etc). This is a school which has done a stellar job of taking mostly poor inner-city black kids and turning them into men ready for college - as attested by it's 100% college acceptance rate of it's first graduating class (2010).
What makes Urban Prep different and how does that contribute to it's success? To me the key factor that sets Urban Prep is more FREEDOM TO MAKE DECISIONS. Urban Prep for the most part is unshackled from bureaucracies of the CPS and Unions. Becuase it is a free-market charter school, it does not have to follow all the restricting rules of the other CPS schools. It can make decisions that make sense and benefits the students of the school.
For instance, it can make stricter guidelines like extended school days, uniform requirements and
required extra curricular activities. It can also hire teachers that are not even certified to teach. The CPS can only hire state certified teachers. Whereas a school like Urban Prep can hire a non-certified teacher and non-union teacher. It gives Urban Prep the freedom to hire teachers with only private industry experience.