Is Smaller Perhaps Better?

Mary Perry dreamed of attending one of Chicago's big public schools--a place like prestigious Whitney Young High, with its student body of 2,200. Instead she ended up at a tiny school with only 140 students and a funny name: Best Practices High. And now, to her surprise, she couldn't be happier. Few people in town know her school's name--but everyone at school knows hers. Once a shy student with low test scores, Perry, 16, has won admission to the National Honor Society. Her high school, she says, is "small, but it's like a big extended family."

Across the U.S., education reformers...

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