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There's a raging debate in Texas and our country pitting traditional public schools against public charter schools. Here's a novel thought: What if we approached it from the standpoint of doing both rather than choosing between them? >
As CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, and later as the U.S. Secretary of Education, I had the good fortune to visit dozens of gap-closing charter schools. I always came away from those visits — as I do when I visit any great public school — with both a sense of hope and a profound feeling of respect and gratitude for the school’s educators and school leaders. >
As I write this post, KIPP is opening 17 new public charter schools around the country, bringing our new total school count to 200. This is a big jump from the first Knowledge is Power Program school that Dave Levin and I founded in Houston with 47 students 22 years ago. >
With its decision to approve a modified expansion of KIPP Reach Academy, the Oklahoma City School Board chose to compromise — a practice all too rare in these politically charged times. It's a move that at its core will help children. >
Here in Oklahoma City, a debate is underway about the expansion of a charter school called KIPP Reach. While KIPP is only one school in our city's public school system, I know that allowing KIPP to expand could have an enormous impact for children in northeast Oklahoma City. >
The Oklahoma City community, our business and civic leaders agree. If we want to put Oklahoma City on the map—to make it a great city, a destination for families, an employment center—we must have great public education in an attractive environment. >
...As a South Bronx native, I easily could’ve been a statistic myself. But last month I received my diploma from Syracuse University. I just started my first full-time job as a financial analyst.Why did I succeed where so many of my peers did not? Two reasons: my mother and my guidance counselor. >
Knowledge is power, indeed: A full 98 percent of this year’s graduates from KIPP NYC College Prep are headed to college in the fall. >
Psychology professor Angela Duckworth’s new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, makes the case that ‘grit’ is the defining character trait of those who are successful in life. Duckworth defines grit as passion + persistence towards a goal over a long period of time. Those new to her work may consider Duckworth’s ideas on grit novel. >
KIPP has demonstrated phenomenal success in providing educational opportunities to its students. Making significant academic gains while attending KIPP, its students have exceptionally high graduation and college entrance rates.
On Oklahoma’s 2014-15 A-F School Report Card, KIPP scored a grade of A+ and a rating of 99. KIPP’s performance record has been recognized by its selection as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School, as one of the 50 Best Middle Schools in the U.S. in 2014 and as one of the top four Oklahoma middle schools in 2014. >
KIPP Reach has earned an A grade on the Oklahoma State School Report Card for the past four years. But these results are only an indicator of the progress we are making toward our ultimate goal — graduating KIPP students who are career and college ready. To date, 39 percent of students in our first KIPP class have graduated or are on track to graduate, which is above the national average for all students and four times higher than that of students from similar economic backgrounds. >
KIPP Minnesota opened its first middle school in 2008 to address the racial and economic achievement gaps in our schools. This fall, we will open our first elementary school, offer support to our first cohort of middle school alums who are heading to college, and make plans for a high school. >
At KIPP Academy Charter School in the Bronx, where 100 percent of students are from minority backgrounds, the KIPP ethos of college prep, including qualities like grit and persistence, helps students transcend challenging environmental factors that may hold back their peers in less rigorous schools. >
Imagine reading the local news to learn how schools in your community stack up against each other. But instead of finding this year’s state test exam results, you could see how many students from each school have graduated from a post-secondary school with a college degree or job skill certificate. This vision for a different measurement of student learning comes from my experience with KIPP, the national network of 183 high performing public charter schools that I co-founded with Dave Levin in 1994. After more than 20 years of work in public K-12 education, I have learned three reasons why I think college and career readiness and program completion are better metrics of our kids’ future success than traditional test scores. >
Through my experience leading KIPP, a network of 183 public schools serving largely educationally underserved students, I’ve come to believe leaders in higher education have never been more interested in charting a new course. And it’s clear that when colleges make a priority of sending a message of opportunity, students respond and thrive. Just ask the 41 KIPP alumni who attend the University of Pennsylvania, or the 19 at UNC Chapel Hill, or the 10 at Wesleyan University, or the 34 at Franklin and Marshall, or the 15 at UC Berkeley. If this is possible for students at one network of schools, think what is possible for this nation. >
KIPP has been a beacon of success and hope during its 14 years in operation. McDaniel and its supporters note that it’s an A-plus school according to the state’s A-F report card, with 99 percent of KIPP students scoring “proficient” or “advanced.” Most of the nearby elementary and middle schools received D’s and F’s. >
Here’s how it all started. A decade ago, in my final year of graduate school, I met two educators, Dave Levin, of the KIPP charter school network, and Dominic Randolph, of Riverdale Country School. Though they served students at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, both understood the importance of character development. They came to me because they wanted to provide feedback to kids on character strengths. Feedback is fundamental, they reasoned, because it’s hard to improve what you can’t measure. >
Recent research shows that students make substantial academic progress when they attend a KIPP school instead of the district school to which they would have otherwise been assigned. The results from KIPP and other charters provide strong evidence that disadvantaged students can indeed learn if they are provided with high quality schooling. >
As teachers do when creating daily lesson plans, I start to think from my students' perspective. I am engulfed by a tidal wave of fear. My fury grows. The realities of my white privilege violently collide with the social consequences of growing up in a poor, inner-city neighborhood.
It felt as if the police stopped us with the intent to intimidate. While my interaction with police has always been positive and safe, it was not so for my students. Some as young as sixth grade have been harassed by police. How would I cope and grapple with this reality every time I walk outside? How do they? I can only imagine the persistent anxiety of mothers of black boys across this country. >
As a lifelong Camden resident, I know our city has the potential to be great. Signs of it are happening everywhere.
I see it most in my granddaughter. She is a kindergartner at KIPP Lanning Square Primary. Recently, her class celebrated their 100th day of the school year and it made me think about how much she’s accomplished in that short time.
There is a huge difference in the type of education she’s getting compared to what my children got when they were in school. These kids are brilliant and KIPP is bringing that out in them. >
Dale Russakoff's “The Prize” is an unsparing chronicle of five controversial years in Newark that began in front of a cheering audience on Oprah and ended this summer with the resignation of Newark Superintendent Cami Anderson. >
How do we best prepare students, especially those from underserved backgrounds, survive in competitive global society? A new report may help us answer that. >
The debate over charter schools may be ready to explode again in Newark. The mayor's chief education advisor has called for a halt to all charter growth, the union is demonstrating next week, and credible rumors are spreading that KIPP – one of the top performing charter chains – is about to anchor a new expansion. >
As a parent, the most important decision I’ve made is where my son should go to school. Looking around at the options in my neighborhood in the South Bronx, I panicked: The district schools in my zone were among the lowest-performing in the city. >
My 6-year-old son attends KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy, and his experience last year and this year has been incredible. The school’s reading program is actually fun for my son, his reading had grown from kindergarten- to almost second-grade level, which is incredible since he’s still in first grade. >