Q: The book is as much a primer on poverty as it is a book about education. What’s the most important insight you took away?
A: Poor children turn into poor adults for one simple reason: They lack the skills and the knowledge to compete at a high level. It’s not about a lack of will or native ability, it’s not about a lack of opportunity, it’s about a lack of training. Because of a variety of problems in their homes and their schools and their communities, disadvantaged children never get a chance to learn the skills they need to succeed. The good news is that if you find a way to teach them those skills — and that’s entirely possible, though it takes an innovative approach and a lot of hard work — they’re going to have a much better shot at a successful life.