Thursday, July 28, 2011

KIPP founders leaving regional duties to focus on bigger picture

Jay Mathews with an article about Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg's new roles:


As the co-founders of KIPP, the best-known and most successful public charter school network in the country, Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg have devoted most of their energies to leading the KIPP schools in their regions — New York City for Levin and Houston for Feinberg.
    Their duties are about to change. Both have decided to leave their day-to-day work as local superintendents and devote their time to broader KIPP and public education issues. Their energy, imagination and prestige will continue to influence KIPP policy, but their successors as superintendents will have challenging jobs because of the importance of New York and Houston to KIPP.
     When Feinberg and Levin began KIPP as a fifth grade of 49 students housed at Garcia Elementary School in Houston in 1994, Feinberg was 25 and Levin was 24, with only two years of teaching experience each. As I explain in my book "Work Hard. Be Nice," they learned fast, with much advice from veteran teachers Harriett Ball and Rafe Esquith. Their formula of longer school days, required summer school, teamwork, imaginative teaching, strict rules of behavior and much singing and travel was so successful that Gap clothing store magnates Doris and Don Fisher gave them $15 million in 2000 to create a national network.  
     This summer, KIPP (once short for Knowledge Is Power Program, but now just KIPP) has 109 schools with 32,000 students in 20 states and the District. Several independent studies have shown KIPP students making significant gains in achievement, in some cases raising low-income minority children from levels typical of inner city schools to those of suburban schools.


KIPP founders leaving regional duties to focus on bigger picture

By Jay Mathews

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