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In District Known for Failure, Will the State Finally Step In?

When it comes to educational dysfunction, the Hempstead school district in Nassau County on Long Island is in a class by itself.

For almost 30 years, the district has been failing its students, most of whom are black and Hispanic. During most of that time, a badly divided school board has been at war with itself. Test scores and graduation rates have been among the lowest in the state. School buildings have deteriorated so much that they have closed while children went to school in trailers. And board members have been convicted of theft and fraud.

Still, despite the decades of mismanagement, the State Department of Education has done little beyond issuing threats.