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Dropout at Harvard

What Todd Rose’s unusual story says about why - and how - we should remake education

In 1989, in the town of Hooper, Utah, a seventh-grader named Todd Rose found himself facing a familiar problem in an awfully familiar place. The place was the school principal’s office, and the problem was another weeklong suspension, this time for throwing vials of ammonium sulfide gas—stink bombs, as generations of pranksters know them—at the blackboard during art class.

On that day, nobody—not the teacher, the principal, or the classmates who egged him on—would have been surprised to learn that Rose became a high-school dropout, with a 0.9 GPA and a $4.25-per-hour job stocking shelves. They might do a double take to see him now though: a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and a leader in the field of educational neuroscience.

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