More dented cars
KIPP and its ilk work for lots of reasons, but it's safe to say that they wouldn't be nearly so successful without committed parents and students and staffs--advantages that most urban schools don't have.
Well, that was my point. Many KIPP schools are better than most urban schools because they alleviate more of the burdens of poverty. There should be more such schools. There are several reasons most urban public schools lack these advantages, but foremost among them is that governments have a near-monopoly on education, and they make all kinds of rules to maintain the status quo, making it difficult for schools like KIPP to peddle their innovative wares in many cities.
As always, I sympathize to some degree with Liam's concerns that schools who "try to do more than they're capable of doing, more than they're designed to do... risk ignoring their most basic function, which is to teach kids."
But ultimately, I'd argue, the level of paternalism a school offers its students should be left to the school to decide, and parents can decide whether or not to send their kids there.