While everyone has a slightly different idea of what the American dream is, it usually boils down to the same thing — no matter who you are, or where you're from, if you work hard enough you can achieve anything.
The idea that everyone has an equal shot at achieving their goals is at the heart of the country's identity, and it's why public schools were created. If everyone is given the same education, everyone starts out at the same level.
Except too often these schools do not act as an equalizer, and despite reform after reform, kids in low-income neighborhoods are not graduating with the same opportunities as students from wealthier areas.
Today, the education system is operating under a "no excuses" policy — regardless of a student's financial situation, if the schools aren't meeting goals there needs to be drastic change.
That comes in the form of some schools closing, others becoming charter schools and many schools replacing their staff completely.
To figure out why schools in poor neighborhoods fail to meet goals, reporter Linda Lutton of WBEZ Chicago spent months reporting on William Penn Elementary, a public school on Chicago's West Side.
The stories she found at the school and surrounding neighborhoods are documented in "The View from Room 205" — a look at how America struggles, and often fails to lift poverty's burdens off children.
To listen to the documentary, click the audio player above.
• By the numbers: Minnesota's graduation gap
• Without support: Minnesota students left behind at graduation
• Bridging the gap: When the teachers are white, but the students are not
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