I think, at a time like this, we have to look at America as a still-emerging nation. In many respects, this is a literal comparison. Our poorest areas share so many characteristics with those of emerging nations.
They lack major elements of social and economic infrastructure taken for granted in wealthier neighborhoods. In our poorest areas, incidents of infant mortality, illiteracy, and crime are far higher than they should be. A lifetime of poverty and living off the street is often accepted as the fate of the next generation.
We should deploy the newly developed online learning modules that are helping students as young as kindergarten learn the basics of coding and the language of computing. We should greatly expand open online courses which have helped so many students gain access to higher education coursework without today’s punishing tuition rates.
If a failing city school system were a developing nation, we would be more than willing to try this initiative: bypass the institutions that have failed, create new and innovative approaches using the best technology we can find, and follow models that have worked elsewhere.