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Inspiration for KIPP Schools, Teacher Harriet Ball, Dies

February 22, 2011 1 min read
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Harriet Ball, a renowned educator whose unorthodox teaching methods helped inspire the founders of the KIPP charter schools network, died from a heart attack on Feb. 2. She was 64.

Ms. Ball taught in Texas public schools before becoming a motivational speaker and training thousands of teachers in her techniques, including the use of rhymes to captivate students.

She was best known for the influence she had on the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, a network of schools with an intensive college-preparatory focus that mostly serve low-income and minority students. The name came from a chant Ms. Ball developed: “The more I read, the more I know/ The more I know, the more I grow/ The more I talk, the less I know/ Because knowledge is power/ Power is money/ And I want it!/ You’ve got to read, baby, read!”

There would be no KIPP without Harriet, KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg told the Houston Chronicle. Her ability to both reach and teach children wasn’t just great for kids, it was an inspiration to a whole generation of teachers and education leaders.

A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2011 edition of Education Week as Inspiration for KIPP Schools, Teacher Harriet Ball, Dies

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