When Will We Learn?

Education is the engine of social mobility, and it's sputtering. Americans have two options: improve our schools or accept a lower standard of living

Illustration by Oliver Munday for TIME

For the past month, we have all marveled at the life of Steve Jobs, the adopted son of working-class parents, who dropped out of college and became one of the great technologists and businessmen of our time. How did he do it? He was, of course, an extraordinary individual, and that explains much of his success, but his environment might also have played a role. Part of the environment was education. And it is worth noting that Jobs got a great secondary education. The school he attended, Homestead High in Cupertino, Calif., was a first-rate public school that gave him a...

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