The Detroit Public School system has a lot of problems and there are almost as many ideas about how to fix the system. Bridge Magazine’s Phil Powers wonders if there is a possibility that Public Boarding Schools, similar to the SEED Foundation schools in Baltimore, D.C. and Miami, might be a radical idea that could work where others have failed. Powers joins Stephen Henderson to talk about the idea.
Powers says in order to improve the Detroit Public Schools something radical must be done, but no one seems to have the guts to try something truly different. According to Powers this is because the conversation is happening between policy people and not with parents and children.
“I’ve even developed a funny phrase to describe this policy problem, I call it remorseless incrementalism,” says Powers.
The report released by The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren was not far reaching enough and the problem is so deeply ingrained it requires out of the box thinking says Powers. This is why Powers is suggesting trying a Public Boarding School model similar to the ones run by the SEED Foundation.
These public boarding schools will not be cheap, Powers says SEED gets around $10,00 per student from the state and still needs to around $20,000 more to cover the extra costs associated with the school. The costs may be high, but if we accept the schools as they are now we are condemned to mediocrity he says. There comes a time though when things need to be thrown at the wall and see what sticks according to Powers.
“There is nothing like a small scale pilot project to demonstrate that something works,” says Powers