Not gifts. Not football. Education. Specifically, crafting ways to reach the terribly needy school children of the Arkanas Delta. John Brummett takes it on today. He's more ready to try new ideas for charter schools just because they sound like good ideas. The national track record for charter schools is positively littered with failed good ideas.
Good charter schools need money. Committed teachers. Accountability. Just calling yourself a charter school and coming up with a cute idea, like focusing on classical music or organic farming, does not a good school make.
The KIPP schools John often touts are working. But they have something that every school does not have, in addition to powerfully committed teachers (subject to burnout) and longer school days and weeks and rigorous performance standards for students to stay enrolled. Parents must be aware enough of the KIPP program to go through the process to participate. Then they must sign onto the program themselves and participate and attend conferences and uphold their end of the bargain. If every parent would do this in every school, we wouldn't be talking about the need for more charter schools.