KIPP and the choice to succeed

September 30, 2010

In her recent op-ed piece discussing the movie "Waiting for Superman," Marta Mossburg lavishes well deserved recognition on the KIPP charter schools' extraordinary success in educating disadvantaged children ("Required viewing," Sept. 28). But well deserved as that recognition is, it is both more and less deserved than Ms. Mossburg suggests.

It is less deserved because it is only with a school-based autonomy management model — embodied in the charter school idea but not exclusive to charter schools — that the genius of KIPP's approach to education can flourish. And it is more deserved because that school-based autonomy model has spawned dozens of new schools in Maryland that are the peer of KIPP in their success with children whom others might have expected less from, or have even written off.

And so the distinction that KIPP may fairly claim is not that it's good but that it's among the best of dozens of autonomous public schools that offer the chance to succeed to many of our neighbors who might otherwise not have that opportunity.

David Borinsky, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Maryland Charter School Network.

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