Magazine July 31, 2017, Issue

Teaching to the Rest

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High-school education should meet the needs of all students

Having marched single-file through years of education, America’s class of 2017 recently climbed onstage to receive their high-school diplomas. Their experiences to that point were remarkably similar for so diverse a group of 3 million minds, the objective of college enrollment almost universal. Yet, after shaking hands with the principal, their paths diverged sharply — as if separate staircases led down the stage’s other side.

Roughly speaking, one fifth of all students were already off track and did not join their classmates crossing the stage. Another fifth will move from their senior year to something besides further schooling. The third fifth

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