KIPP schools & public schools

I have long been intrigued by KIPP schools and what they accomplish.  As a public school teacher, I am chagrined by the way my school in particular — and my district in general — are failing our African-American and Latino students.  KIPP schools work miracles, and I support them whole-heartedly.

I wonder, though, how what KIPP schools do can translate to the public schools.  At a KIPP school, you go to school from 7:30 am until 5 pm, and you do 2-3 hours of homework each night (during which time your teacher is on call by phone at home), and you go to school on Saturdays.  The curriculum is rigorous, which means that teachers, in addition to working all day and on Saturdays, presumably need to spend every evening and a good part of Sunday lesson planning (while fielding calls from students).  How do they do it without burning out?

I want to do for my students what KIPP teachers do for theirs.  However, I’m not in my 20s.  I have two children I’d like to spend time with and pay attention to, and I have a marriage I’d like to enjoy and nurture.  Teaching is so emotionally involving and physically exhausting that I really need time to be by myself to rest, replenish, restore.

Are the mostly young teachers at KIPP schools going to be able to keep up their grueling pace for years to come?  Will they be able to fit families into their demanding schedules?  And will the public schools ever be able to do what KIPP schools do if it means asking their union members to work even longer hours than they do now?

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3 thoughts on “KIPP schools & public schools

  1. My in-laws were telling me about the KIPP school program this weekend. I had never heard of it. Apparently one is starting up in my state this coming school year. I think its ideas are terrific, but you are right about the demands on the teachers. I cannot imagine the affect this would have on their personal lives. I’m glad the students who are in the program are seeing success, and I’m glad there are teachers out there who can give themselves up completely to this program. There is no such thing as a perfect program, and I’m sure this has its flaws. I think educators just need to find that middle ground, but it is very difficult to do with all the restrictions and guidelines provided by the government. Success has a price. What are we all willing to pay?

  2. Didn’t read the links Scott posted yet, but my sense/understanding is that KIPP “succeeds” in large part by eliminating those students who would ruin their “success”.

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