By Lisa Guernsey and Sonia Harmon
We've all heard the bad news: Our public schools are in a sorry state. In surveys of 30 developed nations, American high school students ranked 24th in math and 17th in science. Meanwhile, our dropout rates are at a near-crisis level, with more than a quarter of students failing to graduate. And the recession has inflicted more damage, forcing layoffs among teachers, larger class sizes and cutbacks in important programs.
Happily, however, thousands of bold and resourceful educators are brimming with innovative strategies to lift the performance of American schools and give students new opportunities to learn. With a panel of experts, we chose 10 public schools across the country -- some regular district schools, some charter schools (subsidized by public funds but not operated by local school districts) and some magnet schools -- that exemplify what American education is doing right.