NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 26, 2007

Rare is the occasion to applaud more spending on public schools. But news that the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) -- a charter school program -- will receive $65 million to create new schools in Houston is worth a standing ovation, says the Wall Street Journal.

Houston schools can certainly use the competition:

  • Last year more than 50 district schools, or roughly one out of six, failed to make adequate yearly progress as mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, and nearly half of the district's high schools were rated "academically unacceptable."
  • By contrast, KIPP students were acing state tests; at the KIPP Academy Middle School, 99 percent of eighth-graders scored "proficient" or "advanced" in math and reading.
  • The corresponding results for their district counterparts were 57 percent and 79 percent. 

KIPP's accomplishments are all the more impressive when you consider that charter schools in Texas receive no public funding for buildings and $1,200 to $1,800 less than the $9,000 per student the state spends on other public schools.  More evidence, says the Journal, that what public schools need is not more tax dollars but more autonomy to utilize the ample resources they already have.

Source: Editorial, "Kudos for KIPP," Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2007.

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