The primary school in Crellin, Md., a village of 260 people, sits on a reclaimed coal-loading site in the Appalachian Mountains. On top of reading, writing, and arithmetic, students get to look after chickens and lambs in the barn outside. They also learn about pollution by testing water from the nearby river.
It’s a place full of warmth and curiosity—and, like most of the families who send their children there, it’s short of money. “I want them to have choices,” says principal Dana McCauley of the kids in her charge. Crellin Elementary has earned widespread recognition for its environmental education program. But there’s no money for tutors, and funds for the school’s math academy have dried up.
Rising inequality is now at the heart of U.S. public debate, looming over just about every policy discussion from trade to interest rates and likely to take center stage in this year’s presidential election. America’s classrooms are one place where the trend could be halted.
McCauley and her staff are battling to give children from low-income families a better educational start. That can lead to decent paychecks and a stake in an economy that’s become more oriented toward skills and knowledge. But because of the way the U.S. school system is funded, it often perpetuates inequality instead. The reality is that McCauley’s school would have more resources if the children who went there were better off.
Maryland—one of the more prosperous states but also one with pockets of hardship in places including Baltimore and rural areas like Crellin—is trying to disrupt this loop in which underfunded school systems produce poor adults. It’s embarked on what some experts say is one of the biggest education reforms attempted by a state in recent years, with a price tag that runs into the billions of dollars.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Is the Future Of the Internet In This Van?
Tarana takes a $300 million shot at providing wireless internet that can rival fiber-based networks
THE DOGESTOCK GENERATION
Get-rich-quick trading is partly about entertainment, but it’s having a very real impact on markets
Private Equity Wants You
Managers of buyout funds are looking for more money from individual savers
The Chip King Faces The Crunch
TSMC has mastered the business of semiconductors, but staying on top of the politics is only getting trickier
Too Cool for School
Making enemies of the wrong parents has been hazardous to Juul’s health
For Crypto, The Price of Success May Be Regulation
Governments could finally target the anonymity that makes Bitcoin a haven for hackers
Decoding the Price Signals
What’s real, what’s transitory, what’s base-effect distortion? Let’s cut through the noise
India thought it had the virus beat. The virus had other ideas
Governments around the world keep repeating the same mistakes. In a country of 1.4 billion, the consequences are on a whole new scale
China's Next Export: Inflation
With prices rising at the factory gate, consumers abroad may wind up paying more
Chamath Palihapitiya—tech billionaire, Golden State Warriors co-owner, and all-around meme lord—has a sure-thing, 100%-can’tmiss investment for you that will definitely, absolutely pay off for him
GAMECHANGER SANDRA GIBSON
Executive Director, SNF Parkway Theatre & Maryland Film Festival
Does Congressman Andy Harris represent the future or end of the Maryland GOP?
FLAMES OF HATE!
Ex-police chief torched for twisted midnight arson rampage
The Little State That Could
Delaware becomes a worthy destination——and not just because of Joe Biden.
After decades of silence, the EASTERN SHORE begins to RECKON with its difficult HISTORY.
3 big thoughts
CHOOSE A NEW NAME ALREADY
Great Coin Finds of a Lifetime
Coin Hunts Can Make Any Day a Holiday
3 big thoughts
WILL SPORTS WAGERING KEEP TEAM IN LANDOVER?
THE HIGH-CAPACITY HANDGUNS FUELING BALTIMORE’S EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE INCREASINGLY ENTER THE CITY THROUGH AN UNDERGROUND NETWORK OF OUT-OF-STATE TRAFFICKERS. CAN ANYTHING BE DONE TO TURN OFF THE SPIGOT?