Bill Gates bought and distributed 2,000 copies of Jay Mathews book, “Work Hard, Be Nice”, to all the attendees at the TED presentation. The book is about KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program), a group of high achieving public schools that has the educational establishment abuzz.
KIPP began in 1994 when two teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, launched a fifth-grade public school program in inner-city Houston, TX, after completing their commitment to Teach For America. In 1995, Feinberg remained in Houston to lead KIPP Academy Middle School, and Levin returned home to New York City to establish KIPP Academy in the South Bronx. These two original KIPP Academies became the starting place for a growing network of schools that are transforming the lives of students in under-resourced communities, and redefining the notion of what is possible in public education. From that beginning KIPP has grown to 82 schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia enrolling around 20,000 students.
Over 90 percent of KIPP students are African American or Hispanic/Latino, and more than 80 percent of KIPP students are eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program. Students are accepted regardless of prior academic record, conduct, or socioeconomic background.
Mathews describes: The program boasts longer hours (till 5 pm), days (every other Saturday), weeks (during Summer); discipline from students, parents and teachers- but gets good replicable results.
Now this is a story which has great lessons for the emerging world.