Over at PubDef, you can find a fairly comprehensive list of exactly what's going on now with the SLPS and the impending state takeover. Much of the debate now swirling about in the blogosphere centers around the possibility of students in the city transfering out of the district and into an accepting district of their choice. The controversy, so far as I can parse it, centers not so much around the potential of the kids stuck in the underperforming schools to leave, but rather the potential for city students, not enrolled in the city district, to use city funds to attend a county district.
The issue here, like in so many of our debates about education, is one of choice. Those living in the city, but paying to attend a private or parochial school, or educating their children at home, or who have, like so many have done already, simply moved out of the city, already have the luxury of school choice. It is an unfortunate reality that school choice is, as of now, directly related to the income of the parents. While I'm all about expanding choice to those who don't have it, expanding choice for those who already have it seems a little egregious, and more the product of greed or selfishness than any particular concern for those unfortunate souls stuck in the failed district.
Those who can afford to opt out of the city schools don't need any more help from the city or state. If they are so concerned about their tax money going to fund somebody else's kid's education, then they should excercise their school choice privelege and move to a county with a public school they approve of. Meanwhile, those without such luxury should be given the opportunity to leave the district, via state or city funding. Choice works, and we should strive to provide it for those who can't afford it independantly.