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If schools were free to innovate, there could be more success stories

Irlando Goncalves, a senior at English High School, won early admission to Union College, his top choice.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

Irlando Goncalves, a senior at English High School, won early admission to Union College, his top choice.

I write to praise English High School student Irlando Goncalves for transforming himself from a troublemaker to a college-bound senior, and to commend Akilah Johnson for her front-page story about him (“With nudge, troublemaker found a wiser way to make his mark,” Feb. 3). But I also write to ask why other schools haven’t been allowed to experiment with innovations, such as separate-gender classes for teenagers, that help students focus more on their classes than on their classmates.

I’m assuming that English High was allowed to implement the program described for freshmen and sophomores because the school has been struggling in recent years. But why do we have to wait until schools, and the students in them, are struggling before we allow schools to offer innovations, including school uniforms and longer school days?

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Our citizens should challenge local and state rules that continually stifle ideas before they are fully vetted. If we want more success stories such as that of Goncalves, every school should be free to offer the kinds of programs and support students need to succeed.

Robert Guen

Jamaica Plain

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