Richard Rothstein is a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and a visiting professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the author of Class and Schools, published earlier this year. (December 2004)

Must Schools Fail?

As a Harvard graduate student and junior professor in the 1950s and 1960s tutored by Oscar Handlin, Stephan Thernstrom resolved to write “from the bottom up,” to reveal the lives of ordinary Americans.[^1] His theme in Poverty and Progress (1964) and The Other Bostonians (1973) was that mid-nineteenth- to early-twentieth-century …