High Schools Under Fire

Even outside the big cities, there is trouble everywhere

Morning at a West Coast high school. The first-period bell rings, barely audible above the classroom din. "O.K., everybody, settle down," says the soft-spoken teacher of the course called Modern Problems. Her two dozen students, grouped around seven tables, pay scant attention. She switches on a video machine by her desk; a neatly categorized outline flashes on the board.

Have you already copied this down?" she asks, point ing to the topic headings. A few heads bob yes, several more shake no; the rest of the stu dents merely carry on with their private conversations. The subject of the...

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