Education: Flunking a Legend

Once upon a time American schools served, in Horace Mann's words, as "the great equalizer of the conditions of men." They took in the ragged, ill-fed sons and daughters of European immigrants, educated and Americanized them and turned them out productive members of the middle class.

Such, in any case, is the theory cherished by many educators, who believe that if the schools had enough money, teachers and equipment, they could work the same miracle for black and Spanish-speaking peoples, the "new immigrants" of today. That theory is false, according to a new study by Colin Greer, The Great School Legend (Basic...

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