Heroes Can’t Save Schools (US)

Source: WSJ, Aug 2011
<depending upon heroes to save US schools isn’t sustainable>

Dave Levin, the co-founder of the highly regarded KIPP network of charter schools (KIPP stands for Knowledge Is Power Program). But Mr. Levin would be the first to tell you that heroes aren’t enough to turn around an American public school system whose continued failure has become the country’s most pressing long-term economic and national security threat.

As Mr. Levin explained to me, “You can’t do this by depending only on the kinds of exceptional people we have around here who pour themselves into this every hour of every day.”

“I feel overwhelmed, underappreciated and underpaid,” a teacher told me one morning at one of the Success Charter Network schools in Harlem. Like KIPP, these are schools whose students consistently top the charts in achievement scores, often testing at or above the level of students in affluent nearby suburbs.

“I think we are doing a great job, so I keep at it. But there is no way I can do this beyond another year or two.”

“I know I can’t do this forever. And I know if I had a child I couldn’t do it. As it is, it is screwing up my marriage.”

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