4 Out of 5
KIPP Charter Schools
the Nearest Traditional Public School
Q. How do kids in charter schools do compared to kids in regular
According to David W. Kirkpatrick of www.EducationNews.org, a report in the Charter Schools News Connection, sponsored by
the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, indicates that kids in
charter schools do better.
He reported that an independent study of the San Francisco Bay
Area's five public charter middle schools operated by KIPP (the Knowledge Is Power Program, dedicated to
providing college preparatory education in low-income communities) finds that
the program's intense focus on the academic and social success of each
individual child does have measurable benefits beyond what traditional schools
"Four out of five KIPP schools outperform their host
district," says the report by researchers at SRI International, which
studied two KIPPs in San Francisco, two in San Jose, and the one in Oakland.
Students in most grades also made above-average progress compared with the
national average, the researchers found.
At three schools, KIPP's fifth-graders scored significantly higher
on California Standards Tests than non-KIPP fifth-graders, with the difference
ranging from 6 to 33 percentage points. Bay Area KIPP schools also do not
appear to attract higher-scoring students.
Other evidence from around the country of charter school
- Enrollment in the Washington,
D.C. school district has dropped more than 8% since last year, the
steepest decline since the district first hired an outside auditor to
verify the student population in 1999. Meanwhile, charter officials in
D.C. predict a 20 percent gain, to 26,494 students. About 1,200 students
of that increase is attributable to the conversion of seven financially
struggling Catholic schools that recently reopened as secular public
- School district officials in
Utah are asking lawmakers to find a statewide method of funding public
charter schools because they have gotten so big. During the 2006-07 school
year, 51 public charter schools were serving 19,211 students.
- As enrollment drops beneath
100,000 in Detroit Public Schools, Republican leaders are discussing a new
and potentially larger public charter school system as an alternative to
failing districts. Neighborhood Public Schools would allow corporations
and community groups to open schools without an authorizer. It would
target all underperforming districts, not just Detroit.
- For the first time in the Los
Angeles Unified School District, a traditional school is being run by an
outside organization, Green Dot Public Schools. The L.A. Times reports that observers are closely watching whether
the public charter operator can transform a large, troubled urban school
and replicate what it has done in small schools nearby: significantly
raise scores, increase safety and graduate more students. At the
nearest public school, more students drop out than graduate, and fewer
than 1 in 25 score proficient or better in math.
- One-half of New York City's 42
rated public charter schools recently received an "A" under the
state's grading system. That is a significantly higher proportion of A's
than the 37.3 percent of traditional public schools receiving the top
grade. Three public charters made it into the top five schools overall.
The top scorers included the KIPP Infinity Charter School in Harlem, which
for the second year running was rated the best school in the city.
Homework: See the website of the National Alliance for
Public Charter Schools, www.publiccharters.org