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Our Ideas series is exploring innovation in education.

Some version of this criticism has likely echoed since the rise of compulsory schooling during the Progressive era: Teachers tend to teach to the middle, leaving struggling students feeling lost and more advanced students bored.

Everyone too often gets the same books, material, homework. The same level of difficulty.

On Monday, 15 supporters of the Confederate battle flag were indicted on terrorism charges in Douglas County, a suburb of Atlanta.

The 15 accused are charged with making terroristic threats and violating an anti-street gang ordinance during a July 25 incident in which a group of white men in Confederate and American flag-adorned pickup trucks clashed with a group of black people attending an outdoor party.

On Sunday night, the New York Giants celebrated a thrilling 30-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

But one player wasn't there to join in the jubilation.

Schools tend to be the center of the community in small towns across America. That's probably never been more the case for Middletown, Calif., than right now.

Last month, when a wildfire destroyed more than half of the town in the mountains north of San Francisco, the schools were miraculously spared. They've since reopened and are offering a respite from the sad, day-to-day struggles many students and staff are facing.