Education: Which System Is the Worst?

William Bennett, the declamatory Secretary of Education, has opened his bomb bay over Chicago. During a visit he branded the school system America's worst, with a dropout rate of 45% and achievement scores for many schools in the bottom 1% nationwide. Chicago officials were not pleased. After all, surveys have put New York City's and Detroit's dropout rates higher. Chicago Mayor Harold Washington angrily countercharged that Ronald Reagan "has literally dismantled public education in this country." Last week, after saying "the mayor doesn't know what the hell he is talking about," Bennett went to tiny (pop. 350) Missouri City to pronounce...