Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom shows that giving schools more independence and flexibility can significantly increase their effectiveness. As explained in this Economist article (at the bottom of this entry), the US began experimenting with charter schools 20 years ago, and now has almost 6000. These charter schools have played an important role in fighting poverty, by giving lower income families an alternative when their neighbourhood public school is failing. Not every charter school has worked; but, charter schools as a whole have better results because they are typically more nimble than the public system and can learn from each others' successes and failures.
The current Conservative-Liberal coalition government in the UK is undertaking a dramatic revolution in their country's education system. Charter schools were started in some areas by the previous government, but by the end of this year half of all British schools will be either 'academies' or 'free schools'.
Here is the article: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2012/07/07/a-20-year-lesson