Turning around low-performing schools is one of the most vital–and least glamorous–efforts in education, the unwanted job, argues Alexander Russo in his new book, Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors; Fighting for the Soul of America’s Toughest High School. In it, he chronicles the efforts of Green Dot Public Schools and its charismatic leader, Steve Barr, to transform South Central Los Angeles’s deeply troubled Locke High School. In this podcast, Mike Petrilli talks with Alexander about the Locke saga, how the media got the story wrong, the people at the center of the storm, and what all of this means for President Obama’s hopes for turning around the nation’s dropout factories.

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Last updated April 18, 2011