Education: One Classy Failure

The Governor and the town's big employer had a plan to fix the schools. But the schools made sure to stop it

Parents like to hear their political candidates talk about whipping schools into shape and making them accountable. Easy to say. But not many parents have a clue how really hard it is to take on an entrenched, self-preserving education establishment.

Steve Brothers does. He's the manager of the American Greetings plant in Osceola, Ark., a hulking factory perched near the banks of the Mississippi where 1,500 workers make greeting cards. The 1984 Osceola High School graduate says he has trouble keeping his operation running smoothly because "I can't find enough people who can multiply seven times four." Nor can he readily...

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