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America's educational system requires a hero's rescue

(11/11/10 6:00pm)

As we see in the new movie Waiting for Superman, there's no question that too many schools in the U.S. are failing or under-performing and that in many places, the "system" is broken. What really ails public education in America is the fact that the distribution of these schools is not simply uneven, but rather easy to predict. With a map and some census data, it's not difficult to locate where the best and worst schools are most likely to be.Like many problems in the world, one of the fundamental problems with the education system in the U.S. is inequality - of both opportunity and outcomes. It's not that all of our schools are failing or that all of our children are not meeting academic standards, but the fact that failure and low performance are concentrated - in our urban school systems and in our schools that serve underprivileged, low-income and minority students.