To the Editor:
The headline of Michael Maccoby’s Commentary “Schools Need Collaborative Leaders” (Feb. 20, 2008) immediately grabbed my attention, because leadership does indeed matter.
In his essay, Mr. Maccoby asks whether regular public schools can learn about this aspect of leadership from the Knowledge Is Power Program. I would point out that there are also really good schools out there in the regular public system. For our study of high-achieving middle schools serving Latino students in poverty, two colleagues and I visited several such schools in Texas. A KIPP school was first on our list, but we skipped it and went to the second one, a regular public school. Our visits to eight other, similar public schools revealed that they had four things in common: strong leadership, coherence, use of data to make decisions, and high-quality relationships between and among adults and students. Not only can schools learn from the KIPP model of charter school, they can learn from regular public schools, too.
A version of this article appeared in the March 05, 2008 edition of Education Week