Education: Making Bad Kids

At her son Noah's graduation from a North Philadelphia elementary school in June 1972, Lois Mark Stalvey felt nothing but "a bleak hopelessness." When the new graduates, mostly black, began to sing We've Only Just Begun, tears streamed down her cheeks, but not from sentiment. "I was weeping for all the bright-faced children who were leaving their last chance behind," she writes in Getting Ready (Morrow; $7.95). Her new book is both a remarkable chronicle of a white family's confrontation with inner-city schools and a harsh indictment of an educational system that is...

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