Edward Glaeser calls improving urban schools "the great challenge of our era":

In the case of schooling, the politics isn’t so hard, but we don’t really know how to fix everything. We’ve seen brave people fight for urban schools for years with only moderate success, and there is no obvious easy solution. On one level, the establishment of a public monopoly for schools eliminates the urban advantages of competition and innovation. For that reason, I’m hopeful about charter schools, especially in urban areas. Fixing America’s schools is the country’s most important job, but we don’t yet know how to get it done.

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