Every morning, in big cities, suburbs and small towns across America, parents send their children off to school with the highest of hopes. But a shocking number of students in the United States attend schools where they have virtually no chance of learning--failure factories likelier to produce drop-outs than college graduates. And despite decades of well-intended reforms and huge sums of money spent on the problem, our public schools haven't improved markedly since the 1970s. Why? There is an answer. And it's not what you think.