[caption id="attachment_67832" align="alignleft" width="215" caption="Other education legislation created more choice and flexibility in public education while giving the whole system more coherence."][/caption]

In the typical Oregon public school classroom, students of the same age work at achievement levels that often vary by two or three grades, sometimes more.

That didn't make sense to Mary Folberg. When she launched Northwest Academy, a private college preparatory school for grades 6-12 in downtown Portland, she grouped students the way she did as a dance instructor at Jefferson High, by proficiency rather than age.

That's the...

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