Most people who live in the middle east are surrounded by crushing poverty and cruel competition for jobs. This is why education can be such a life and death issue. But the Mideast is also suffused in religious strife, among Islamic sects, between Muslims and members of other minority religions, and between those who question -- what is school for? Preparing students to compete in the secular world, or perfecting their religious beliefs. RAND Corporation analyst Shelly Culbertson on the battle for the classroom in the Middle East.