Monday, April 13, 2009

There are no Shortcuts

Lately I have been reading Work Hard, Be Nice, the story of the Knowledge is Power Program, or KIPP. KIPP was started in the early 90's by two men in their early 20's. Mike Feinberg and David Levin, two alums of Teach for America, decided to do something about the crushing conditions they found in the public school system in urban Houston, TX.

This story is gripping. I'm reading it at the right time; it is renewing my vision, energy, and passion at a time in the year when those three things are at a low in my life. Recently I have found myself bitter, angry, and perpetually upset at what I see around me (and in myself) in education, and this inspiring story of two unlikely heroes is lifting my spirits that success is quite possible, even in the most dire environments. Their story is also very humbling to me--I was beginning to mope and feel sorry for myself about my problems (I never imagined anyone, much less a national teacher of the year, would have to teach class on the concrete in Texas heat every year!), but reading this book has cured me of that.

I could go on and on about what I'm learning through this book, but I'll let the fellas speak for themselves. Here are a few videos about KIPP and their founders:

KIPP welcome video--

Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP--

Feinberg again--

David Levin talks about KIPP NYC--


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