What Public Boarding Schools Teach Us

Can public boarding schools help at-risk kids excel?

Jim Spellman / Wireimage / Getty

At Washington's SEED School, students spend five days a week in on-campus dorms.

Soon after starting his job as superintendent of the Memphis, Tenn., public schools in 2008, Kriner Cash ordered an assessment of his new district's 104,000 students. The findings were grim: nearly a third had been held back at least one academic year. The high school graduation rate had fallen to 67%. One in five dropped out. But what most concerned him was that the number of students considered "highly mobile," meaning they had moved at least once during the school year, had ballooned to 34,000, partly because of the home-foreclosure crisis. At least 1,500 students were homeless--probably more. "I had a...

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