America’s Top Models: Can the Nation’s Best Charter Schools Be Brought to Scale?

Book Forum
October 2, 2009 12:00PM
Auditorium/Wintergarden
Featuring Ben Chavis, Principal, American Indian Charter School, Author, Crazy Like a Fox and Jay Mathews, Washington Post Columnist, Author, Work Hard, Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America. Respondent and moderator Andrew Coulson, Director, Cato Institute Center for Educational Freedom, Author, Market Education: The Unknown History.

Founded by Ben Chavis in 2006, American Indian Public Charter School is already the fourth highest performing public high school in California. Its students are almost all African American or Hispanic, and poor. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) network of public charter schools, the focus of Jay Mathews’ book, raises its mostly low-income students from far below the national average in academic performance to well above it, in just four years. It has already expanded to serve 20,000 children in 82 locations around the country.

Are these schools really as good as they seem? If so, can they be imitated or replicated on a mass scale, as President Obama and education Secretary Arne Duncan hope? And what ever happened to the greatest public school success story of the last generation, Jaime Escalante, who, along with his ultra-high-achieving low-income Hispanic students, inspired the movie Stand and Deliver?

Please join us in a conversation about two of America’s most striking models of educational excellence, and the prospects for bringing them to a mass audience.