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Mike and Dave say that KIPP has a "whatever it takes" philosophy. "Every day the kids come to school with 101 reasons why they're set up for failure, which means we need at least 101 solutions for how to set them for success day in and day out," Mike says.

The founders of KIPP say the "blame game" is too much of a default among the parties in education. "Parents blaming teachers, teachers blaming parents, colleges blaming high schools, high schools blaming middle schools, middle schools blaming elementary schools," Dave says. "Until we all unite around what works and stop accepting failure, we're not going to solve it."

At KIPP, everyone knows they are on the same mission. In fact, the first meeting between parents and teachers takes place in the students' homes. "It makes a huge difference for the teachers and the parents," Dave says. "There's traditionally a separation between school and home. And when it stops being separated like that, people really start to work together."

Since their education style works so well, why couldn't it work in every school? "That's what everyone gets around to asking us. 'If you guys are doing this, why isn't everyone else doing this?'" Dave says.
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FROM: Oprah's Special Report: American Schools in Crisis
Published on April 12, 2006

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