Thought-provoking article in today's Boston Globe about education's "coconut cake problem" and Harvard professor Roland Fryer's work to extract what works--and what doesn't--in raising student achievement.

Fryer then worked with the Houston public schools to apply the effective principles, an effort that gave rise to impressive improvement in just a single year.

As the Globe's aptly-named-for-this-article Gareth Cook writes, the "magic recipe" turns out to be remarkably straightforward:
1. Give frequent feedback to teachers
2. Use loads of data on individual students to guide their instruction
3. Employ heavy tutoring
4. Increase instructional time
5. Maintain very high expectations

Perhaps as important, Fryer concluded that some ingredients don't warrant inclusion on his list.
1. Small class sizes
2. High spending

Cook doesn't explicitly mention the role of leadership in successful schools, but leaders ranging from Houston's Terry Grier to Democracy Prep charter school (Harlem) founder Seth Andrews are clearly integral to skillfully mixing the ingredients.