Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A Dissenting View on the Knowledge is Power Program

In discussions about Jay Mathews from around the web, Kentucky School News and Commentary takes issue with Mathew's take on the Knowledge is Power Progam:

In his new book, "Work Hard. Be Nice.," Jay Mathews claims that the Knowledge is Power Program is the "best program serving severely disadvantaged, minority-group students in America today.

Let me begin—before I'm denounced as a traitor to the cause of educational reform—by saying that I'm inclined to agree. The improbable story of how KIPP was founded in 1994 by David Levin and Michael Feinberg, two young Teach for America alumni in Houston, is thrilling and worthy reading. KIPP's mission has been akin to putting the first man on the moon: an all-out education race, requiring extraordinary, round-the-clock dedication from parents, students, and teachers alike.

But the program is not the proven, replicable model for eliminating the achievement gap in the inner city that Mathews imagines, and this distinction is crucial. KIPP may be something more important: a unique chance to test, once and for all, the alluring but suspect notion that there actually is an educational panacea for social inequality. As of yet, the evidence for such a thing doesn't exist.

By Washington Post Editors  | April 15, 2009; 2:17 AM ET
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Knowledge is Power Program  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Accelerated Math Challenge, For a Student and Her Mom
Next: Extra Credit: Teach to the Test or Not?


While I agree that there isn't an educational panacea in the way it is commonly thought of, I do think there is a big lesson to be taken from KIPP's success and why it doesn't always succeed elsewhere: Change comes from within. You can have the best program, but if it's imposed (especially one as demanding as KIPP), it is destined to fail. KIPP has initially suceeded because it had dedicated people with a share vision and ideals. I believe it near impossible to get the whole educational community (parents included) to share a vision and ideals.

Posted by: JohnDewey1 | April 15, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

The article is in Slate, not in Kentucky School News and Commentary, which provides the link to the article in Slate. If a newspaper is going to "steal" news from an on-line source, it should acknowledge the correct source. Maybe Slate will sue WaPo. 8=)

Posted by: sscritic | April 15, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

The two KIPP schools in Indiana are performing below the state average.
Search for KIPP at

Posted by: edlharris | April 15, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company