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How Long Beach, California, Successfully Reformed Its Schools

What are the school colors? Is the whole school free? What happens if you miss a class? Is there detention? How many books are there in the library?

These were just some of the questions eager Long Beach Unified School District 9- and 10-year-olds tossed during their Long Beach City College tour last spring. Their student tour guide, Ashley Martinez-Munoz, a graduate of Long Beach schools herself, took each question from the Madison Elementary School students seriously.

 After all, the goal of the tour was to make these fourth graders—many of whom come from families with no history of going to college—comfortable with the notion that they could earn a college degree, whether or not their parents did, as long as they’re willing to work for it