Riley waves off rigid adherence to strict orthodoxies in education thinking, saying he is open to any good idea that can help drive student improvement. He also described the “failure of educational leadership” that plagued the current school system. In the past, his direct actions to improve our school district involve bringing in charter school operators to run two of the city’s most troubled schools, giving them lots of running room but also insisting that they be staffed with unionized district teachers. He also pushed more authority over decisions to the school level, cutting back the central office staff by 40 percent.