Teaching: Island of Change

Most U.S. school systems are so busy corseting the population bulge that much of the reform in U.S. pedagogy is passing them by. Among the happiest exceptions is Newton, Mass., a Boston suburb with a population of 95,600 (up 13,600 since 1950) and a tradition of academic excellence that goes back to 1848, when Horace Mann moved the nation's first normal school there. Newton is probably the most creative school system in the U.S. today—an "island of change," as educators call it, that is rivaled only by the much smaller Winnetka, Ill. (pop....

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