In January 2010, the Governor signed historic education reform legislation that gives all students and families greater access to high-quality schools. The Innovation Schools initiative, a key component of this legislation, provides educators and other stakeholders in all districts across the state with the powerful opportunity to create new "Innovation Schools," in-district and charter-like schools that will operate with greater autonomy and flexibility with regard to curriculum, staffing, budget, schedule/calendar, professional development, and district policies. These public schools will be able to implement innovative strategies to improve student achievement while keeping school funding within districts. There are currently 54 approved Innovation Schools across the Commonwealth.
A signature component of the Governor’s Achievement Gap Act of 2010, the Governor's Administration has worked to create an index of innovation for educators, students and families across the state. Innovation Schools provide educators the opportunity to create in-district schools that operate with greater autonomy and flexibility, while keeping school funding within districts, to improve learning outcomes for all students and reduce achievement gaps. Sixteen new charter schools were also approved last year under the “smart cap” lift in the Achievement Gap Act, which allows the best performing charter schools to expand in communities with the greatest need.