Education: No More Dragging Up the Rear

Arkansas bows to pressures to put schools to the test

Public education in Arkansas has long been the Dogpatch of the nation's school systems. Many poorly financed districts in the state have tiny, rundown schoolhouses staffed by some of the lowest-paid teachers in the country. Consider, for example, the Thornton school district (total enrollment: 300), located in the timber country of southern Arkansas. The last time its tenth-graders took the basic skills test they placed in the bottom 12% of national scores. The average teacher's salary is only $11,663, and not one teacher is certified to teach physics, foreign languages or art....

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