Why no KIPP in Tampa Bay?
All eyes will be in Jacksonville tomorrow, when U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Florida Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith attend the grand opening of the newest KIPP charter school. The Jacksonville school is the first in Florida for the KIPP chain, which has 99 schools in 20 states and a pretty good track record with poor and minority students.
As far as we can tell, the only schools around Tampa Bay that echo the KIPP model - longer school days, longer school years, heavy emphasis on character education and college prep - are the Academy Prep schools in Tampa and St. Petersburg. KIPP schools cost more, but the one in Jax found a way to close the funding gap with private help.
Given the attention on struggling minority students - in Pinellas, especially - shouldn't KIPP, or schools like it, at least be part of the debate?