Some states mandate a turnaround process for chronically failing schools. Staff and sometimes even principals can be replaced. If the principal and teachers are unprofessional and uncaring, this might be helpful. But as pointed out in the Elephant in the Classroom, it is more likely that the failing school represents the residual “coffee grounds” and not the cream.
By that I mean that the troubled school may be in a poor neighborhood with most kids on the free lunch program, while kids from that school with higher academic potential have been selected or creamed off to better programs within the public school system or the private sector.
Significant school reforms will not take place until schools are allowed to recognize brain and personality diversity and teach accordingly. That means more career programs in addition to or instead of academic ones.