This introductory chapter begins by arguing that there are no quick fixes or miracles for ailing public schools, and that the real problem is the miseducation of poor and minority youths. Nationwide, most public schools—and most charter schools, for that matter—give the children at best a mediocre education. The only chance the US can maintain its competitive position in the global economy is by doubling down investment in education and boosting the number of well-trained college graduates; and that necessarily means doing a better job of educating poor and minority youngsters. The chapter then discusses how the public schools of Union City, New Jersey, have developed a promising and usable strategy to transform children's lives.
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