Education: They Shall Not Pass

The most heated educational debate of the mid-1950s centered on "why Johnny can't read." That issue continues to raise the temperatures of parents and educators, but for many urban school systems the real problem now is what to do with Johnny if he can't read.

This month, in a break with recent policy, New York City's school system announced that it will no longer promote students who lag far behind their grade level in reading ability.

For the past six years, the nation's largest urban school system (enrollment 1,490,000) has passed elementary school pupils on from grade to grade even when they have...

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