Today’s School of Thought column at TIME.com deals with what I see as a key issue in education today: We have these raging debates about various reforms but a look at outcomes shows that even the best ideas in practice today are still not shifting the curve the way we hope. Problem is, it’s hard to talk about that because it this highly politicized environment we are in today data are weaponized rather than discussed thoughtfully. Perhaps this new data release from KIPP today, which is both interesting and important, is a chance to change that:
A new report being released today will add to the debate about the Knowledge Is Power Program or KIPP schools — a highly influential non-profit network of public schools serving low-income students. The study is important because it’s the first large-scale look at the college completion rate for students in schools at the leading edge of today’s reform efforts. The results show that while KIPP graduates—who are 95 percent African-American and Latino and overwhelmingly low-income—far outpace the national averages for similar students, they also fall short of the network’s own goals: 33 percent of students who completed a KIPP middle school at least 10 years ago have a bachelor’s degree today. Among similar students nationwide, just 8 percent have graduated college.