So-called “turnaround school districts,” inspired by Louisiana’s Recovery School District and its near-clone in Tennessee, have been gathering steam, with policymakers calling for them in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other states scattered from coast to coast. But just how promising are these state-run districts as a strategy to bring about governance reform and school renewal? What lessons can we take away from those districts with the most experience? Can their most effective features be replicated in other states? Should they be? What are ideal conditions for success? And why has Michigan’s version of this reform struggled so?