Like most touchy issues, few people agree on precisely how to cope with America’s public school system. Proposed solutions for some failing districts include switching to charter schools, installing fresh leadership, stricter curriculum, and more. Union City, New Jersey has defied the odds – once on the brink of being shut down, Union City has become a model district simply by going back to the basics, and sticking with them. David L. Kirp, is a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and author of eighteen books on education and urban issues. His latest is Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools.