St. Louis May Get KIPP Schools!
"KIPP" stands for "Knowledge Is Power Program." Read all about it here in the Post-Dispatch.
The article mentions KIPP’s great track record in improving test scores, and brings up the usual objections: KIPP schools take the cream of the crop; not everyone is able to spend 10 hours a day in school; it won’t work everywhere.
I hope those arguments won’t stop the mayor from bringing in KIPP. After all, KIPP schools are free public charter schools that specifically target poor urban areas. They can’t be accused of admitting only wealthy, ready-for-school students. And if they accept a lot of motivated students who want to work hard, is that really a problem? Kids go to school to learn, not to be a good influence on everyone else. When you look at the before-and-after test scores of KIPP students, it doesn’t make sense that these kids would have done well anyway, because they weren’t doing well in their traditional public schools before they came to KIPP. So much for the "cream of the crop."
The KIPP school day is longer than many kids can tolerate, but we have other charter schools with shorter school days. I hope Mayor Slay’s plan goes through then we’ll have even more charter schools to choose from. That’s not a reason to keep out KIPP.
"Policy leaders have said the schools are great but can’t be widely replicated," according to the article. But the vast majority of KIPP schools have done very well, as the article reports. We can’t predict for certain whether the model will work in St. Louis. But you never know until you try.