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Column: Effective education needed to improve public schools

The public school system faces daunting challenges: from the federally directed emphasis on standardized tests, from alternative learning choices’ drain on resources, from the need to provide services outside the scope of academics.

The weight of these and other problems threatens to crumble the once-vaunted system.

What some poor neighborhoods need, for instance, is more on the concept of the historic settlement houses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries than a place just to teach Dick and Jane how to read, write and cipher.

Students need an atmosphere that nurtures, both emotionally and physically, to fill the void caused by poverty. Students in poor neighborhoods also are more likely to come from a household with a single parent.

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