KIPP schools in the US

˙ PREAL Blog

We are pleased to share with you several links to documents discussing the extraordinary success of the KIPP schools in the United States. KIPP schools—Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)—are a network of charter (publicly funded-privately managed) schools that today serve nearly 20,000 low-income children in 75 schools across the country. As the attached article points out, they are notable for their strict “no excuses” methodology and emphasis on discipline and hard work, as well as for their successes in raising test scores for children from low-income families. KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg points out that KIPP schools are “primarily public charter schools, where principals receive less funding than traditional public schools but greater freedom to hire the best teachers, manage the budget and extend the school day, week and year.”

This excerpt from a recent book explains how KIPP schools attribute their success to simply working harder and longer — extending the school day until as late as 5:00 p.m., for example, and providing relentless support for students that fall behind. At the same time, KIPP’s success has not come without skepticism. Some studies suggest that attrition rates at KIPP schools are alarmingly high, and that only families with deep commitment to education choose to send their children there in the first place, effectively ruling out children from severely dysfunctional homes. Thus, entrants may be self-selected to a certain extent, even though no formal entry requirements are in place; by law, all children are welcome as long as there is space. The KIPP story is compelling, both in terms of the power of private sector to support promising yet untested ideas (its growth to a national network was funded by the Gap, Inc.), and as a testament to the prospect of providing outstanding learning opportunities presently beyond the scope of the traditional public school paradigm.

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