Jay Mathews is the education writer for the Washington Post, and an acquaintance and guest many times over the years. In the closing chapter of his captivating new book “Work Hard. Be Nice.: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America,” Mathews writes: “It has been my mission since [becoming an ed reporter] to find the schools and teachers who have done the most to overcome poverty, apathy, and racial and class bias and raise their students to new heights of achievement.” The new book continues that mission by telling the stories of Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg and the KIPP schools they created, which now number 66 across 19 states and the District of Columbia. Mathews has covered education for two decades, read all the books, visited all the innovative programs, attended all the debates. This is a book he clearly intends will convey the message that after all that time and effort, KIPP is the best model for inner city public education now available.
I will spend an hour with Jay on today’s show, but cannot hope to do more than hint at the compelling story of KIPP’s launch and growth. If you care about public education in America, especially about its future in the urban core of the country’s biggest cities, you really have to read this book.