Houston increases time in school, copies successful charter schools

More time in school is one of five policies common to successful charter schools, according to an excellent article in the New York Times written by Sam Dillon.   Houston Schools Look to Charters for Guide explains that Houston public schools are working with Roland G. Fryer, a researcher at Harvard, to implement five key tenets of successful charters: “longer school days and years; more rigorous and selective hiring of principals and teachers; frequent quizzes whose results determine what needs to be retaught; what he calls “high-dosage tutoring”; and a “no excuses” culture.”

One person watching the experiment closely is Mike Feinberg, who co-founded the first KIPP school here in 1994, and now serves on the program’s national board and runs its 20 Houston-area charters. Mr. Feinberg sees Houston’s education marketplace as akin to when FedEx emerged to challenge the United States Postal Service. The result: Priority Mail.

KIPP, “Knowledge Is Power Program,” a national charter chain, gives students about 1,734 hours in school per year.  Last year Houston implemented the five key tenets of charters at nine district secondary schools–  giving students 1,434 hours in school.  This school year “they are expanding the program to 11 elementary schools. “

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