Closing the academic achievement gap is one of the most complex challenges that school system leaders face. Closing the gap became even more urgent with the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act. For the first time, the federal government has set a deadline for closing the gap, requiring schools to bring all students to proficient levels of academic performance in twelve years. How much of the achievement gap can be attributed to what school districts themselves may be doing? What factors and conditions impede progress toward closing the achievement gap? And what can superintendents do to narrow as much of the gap as they can? These questions led to the development of this guide. In Changing Policies to Close the Achievement Gap Cynthia Prince identifies state and local policies that tend to make the achievement gap worse and describes policy changes that superintendents have made with the support of their boards to help narrow the gap. She also examines policies that aggravate the inequitable distribution of quality teachers and principals, that restrict student access to challenging coursework, and that reduce academic instruction time. Prince argues that closing the gap will require serious efforts to change these policies and other conditions that impede the ability of school districts to bring all students to high levels of performance.