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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Is KIPP all that? Duval leaders question the reputation



All over the country, the KIPP charter schools win accolades for their accomplishments as they take low income students and try to put them on a path toward success.

In Duval County, not so much.

Unimpressed with KIPP's performance in Jacksonville — an F grade and declining student improvement, the Duval School Board is seriously considering not approving the charter group's application to open more schools in the county, the Florida Times-Union reports.

"We can have a discussion on KIPP, but if we're serious about our reading initiative, how do we now support more schools with this type of data?" School Board member Paula Wright said at a recent meeting.

KIPP leaders have said they will answer any questions district officials have. They've also said they will fight any denial of the expansion effort.

This raises a key question in Florida's charter school expansion plans: Should a charter's past performance be considered if it seeks to open more models of itself?

Florida lawmakers approved a law that this year gives charters rated "high performing" more leeway to replicate themselves anywhere in the state based on that rating. But does that past performance — good or bad — really give insight into how the same school would do somewhere else, with different teachers, kids and community?

We often hear that school reform has no magic bullets, and that what works in one school won't necessarily have the same effect in another. If true, doesn't this apply to charters, too?

[Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011 8:52am]


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