Helen Epstein

Children of the Storm: Education and Social Mobility

Schools are supposed to be America’s engine of social mobility, but they are clearly failing in that function. The United States ranks twenty-first of twenty-six Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in high school graduation rates. In New York City, 72 percent of African-American boys fail to graduate. Of those students who make it to college—rich, poor, black and white—40 percent need remedial classes. Teachers, administrators, parents, and state and federal policies have all been blamed for these dismal results. Charles Murray of the conservative American Enterprise Institute has even blamed the children themselves for their lack of aptitude.

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