If you haven't heard of Geoffrey Canada, check him out: http://www.hcz.org/what-is-hcz/about-geoffrey-canada/53-about-geoffrey-canada
His work is highlighted in this great article by David Brooks:
I wouldn't say Canada's work is a "miracle" though. He is an amazing man, a hero, but he is doing what SHOULD be the most common, basic thing in every city in America: giving kids schools that actually TEACH them. Giving kids teachers that know and believe they can learn and that expect them to excel. And then they do, and then all those connected cycles of poverty, crime, poor health, etc. etc. begin to be broken at last. It's a miracle to me that we haven't ensured every child in America has the opportunity to attain a great education. It is possible. It is do-able. It is time.