Ms. Frizzle offers an outstanding reflection on the KIPP schools model that has received high praise from some advocates of education reform. But, she asks, do their results come at a high cost to the teachers and, in a larger sense, to the concept of public education?
The take-away message for school reformers is that society is not doing enough for children and families. One solution is for schools to fill in the gaps, providing everything from extracurricular programming to meals to medical care. That’s a good model, and it seems to work, but I am worried about models where the teachers do most of this extra support.
I also know for sure that KIPP depends on lots of donations from corporations and individuals to make their special programming possible. Again, the take-away message is that providing music and art and trips to Washington, DC and Paris is beneficial to kids. But should the funding for these enrichment activities depend on philanthropy?
She goes on to offer a good assessment of the factors behind the success of KIPP and questions whether or not this model could be replicated on a wide scale and, more importantly, sustained over the long term.