Q.Is MPS really in such bad shape?
A. Yes and no. On the no side, you can walk into any of the 200-plus schools operating as part of MPS and find a generally smooth operation, with teachers and students doing what they're supposed to do.
Leaving aside, among other things, that Half of MPS students regularly skip school, report shows.
Life goes on in the schools, and many of those schools are a lot better than many in the public realize.
Custer High School had a 98% truancy rate, so there must have been schools with a much lower rate for the district to have a 46% average.
So much for the good news.
On the yes side, the system is under enormous pressure to improve achievement overall for students and to cope with a financial picture that MPS leaders portray as grim. The squeeze on the district in terms of taxes, costs and services is growing every year, with no relief in sight.