– We need charter school legislation first
During his January 7, 2010 testimony on House Bill 176 before the House Education Committee, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday was asked to describe what the bill’s Education Management Organizations (EMO) actually were.
Holliday replied that these were for-profit or not-for-profit organizations with the expertise to turn around low performing schools. He specifically offered the KIPP (the Knowledge is Power Program) organization as one example.
I seriously doubted the highly regarded Knowledge is Power Program would have anything to do with Kentucky so long as we prohibit charter schools, so I contacted Mikelle Willis at KIPP’s home office in San Francisco.
I was right.
KIPP is not interested in doing business without the flexibility they need and get from the charter school model.
Instead, as this screen shot from their web site shows, today KIPP starts schools from scratch, starting with the base grade in the first year and then adding more grades as the initial group of students progresses.
KIPP also isn’t looking to expand operating regions at this time. They specially are not interested in a state with no charter schools.
Bottom line – if we want KIPP schools in Kentucky, and goodness knows we could use them, we’ll need something other than House Bill 176 to get us there. HB 176 will not bring this high performance public school model to Kentucky. Even with charter legislation, it could be a tough sell to get KIPP to come here; but, without charters – forget it.
You can hear Dr. Holliday’s comments about KIPP about 9 minutes and 30 seconds into the KET archive of the committee meeting here.