I don't know what it costs, or where the money would come from, but the most likely solution to the plight in MPS involves removing kids from the places where they learn the behaviors that make educating them nearly impossible, or changing those environments. While changing broken homes seems appealing, the task IS impossible. However, boarding schools are legitimate options for turning MPS and other big-city school districts around.
For those of you who were not brought up by wealthy parents on the East Coast, a boarding school is basically a school that operates as both a school and home for students. Some large cities have small-scale boarding schools that probably show great results at a higher-than-desired cost. MPS should look into the short-term development of year-round boarding schools on a large scale. Very large.
Statistics can predict who will fail and possibly become a detriment to society. If we use those statistics to identify students who would do better away from home, MPS could create the first generation of successful inner-city graduates from its failing schools. Instead of another college campus that will produce graduates who will leave our state, let's create a college-sized campus for the kids who will rebuild our city. Use the same contractors who get excited about building new prisons--we won't need them down the road because this system will work, unlike every other patch or magic bullet sent to the city.
Choice schools will only work on a limited basis. Teachers are not better in choice schools, only cheaper. The choice schools offer an option for parents who care enough to take the option, and they can pick their battles. The current regular MPS school has no option for removing troubled students and very little to entice them to learn. The problem is that if education is not valued by several generations of family members, the kids will behave as expected. MPS has operated long enough trying to modify behaviors that are reinforced nightly at home or with friends. The best option to improve the school atmosphere for a time (suspension) results in students being exposed to more of what caused the problem. A boarding school eliminates the problems at home because school is home. Responsible adults and role models are in charge. People who value education are allowed to educate, and attendance is not an issue.
We can even name the school after Howard Fuller if that makes anyone feel better. He wanted to help the most poverty-stricken children in MPS by delivering them to the suburbs and choice schools. Of course, that idea has become the inspiration for shutting down all public schools across the country. A large-scale boarding school would be designed to save MPS and show that public schools can work, even with the most challenging students. Continuously saying that we don't accept failure does not actually prevent it from happening, and complaining about funding going elsewhere does not fix the funding problem. Get those big corporations who pretend to care about education to help create a real campus, and those kids will be ready for a real college campus in one generation.