In Houston, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to improving public school education. Public school officials in the city that spawned the nationally recognized KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) have begun applying five successful charter school practices in elementary and secondary schools across the city: longer school days and years, a greater emphasis on hiring effective principals and teachers, frequent quizzing, “high-dosage tutoring,” and a “no-excuses culture.” This shift is what the charter school movement originally intended: charters could develop and test innovative practices that would go on to incentivize change in nearby public schools through market-driven competition. Yet this goal has been all but forgotten in many US cities, where the only competition is over increasingly scarce tax dollars.
The experiment is being supported by Harvard’s EdLabs, so it’s probably safe to assume that it will be subject to rigorous evaluation. But will positive results be enough to change the charter v.s. public school debate in other cities?
Read “Troubled schools try mimicking the charters” at The New York Times.