More than two-thirds of America’s 74 million kids attend K-12 schools — buildings where tens of millions of teachers, administrators, and staffers go to work every day. Between educational and retirement costs, they represent most states’ biggest expenditures. And their end product, the promise of our nation’s kids? You could say that’s pretty important too.

Yet for a subject so large, our conversations around education are shot through with unchecked or contradictory platitudes. Spending more on schools just throws good money after bad. Parents only care about school quality. To get a decent job, students need to go to college. Underprivileged kids can’t catch up to their more affluent classmates.

Teachers are underpaid. No, wait, they’re overpaid.

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