While Dr. Martin Solomon was pooh-poohing public charter schools in the Bluegrass Institute’s recent published Free to Learn online debate, the highly regarded Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) was congratulating the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) for “20 years of serving some of our nation’s most vulnerable children and families.” Some facts about KIPP, the largest charter-school operator in the country:
* There are currently 162 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia serving 58,000 students.
* More than 88 percent of their students are from low-income families and eligible for the federal free or reduced-price meals program, and 95 percent are African-American or Latino.
* Nationally, more than 93 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school, and more than 82 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.
“For a variety of reasons, there are some organizations that choose to work to either undermine KIPP’s efforts or to somehow discredit their work,” said BAEO president Kenneth Campbell. “At BAEO, we are unwavering in our support for KIPP, because they are transforming the lives of children and families by sending unprecedented numbers of children from low-income families to and through college.”
We at the Bluegrass Institute look forward to that day when the General Assembly opens the doors of the Bluegrass State to public charter schools and to great organizations like KIPP.
We also wonder what Dr. Solomon’s plan is to address the educational needs of the thousands of at-risk students that are falling through the cracks in Kentucky’s traditional education system — like the 162 KIPP and other public-charter schools are doing.