washingtonpost.com  > Opinion > Letters to the Editor

Only as Good as the Parents

Thursday, September 2, 2004; Page A22

Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) academies deserve high praise for their remarkable ac- complishments ["School of Hard Choices," Style, Aug. 24], but it is unlikely that they can serve as a nationwide model for other hard-to-teach students.

KIPP students constitute a self-selected group whose parents either are deeply involved in the education of their children or make a serious commitment to become so.


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The fact that KIPP parents choose this school and agree to help enforce its rules sets them apart from the parents of most poor and minority students.

KIPP counters that its students had the same parents when they were performing poorly in regular schools, but they are the same in name only. Once the parents decide to enroll their children in KIPP academies, they no longer play the same role in their children's lives. In that sense, they are different parents.

The key to KIPP's success is parents who care. Unfortunately, too many inner-city students lack this fundamental right.

WALT GARDNER

Los Angeles


© 2004 The Washington Post Company