KIPP Plans to Double Enrollment in Los Angeles

Published December 4, 2014

KIPP schools have a lofty plan for expansion in one major city, doubling enrollment over the next six years.

In a plan published in October, KIPP LA announced a goal of operating 20 schools serving 9,000 students by 2020. The organization currently runs 11 schools serving 4,000 students.

“California has more than 160,000 student names on waiting lists for charter schools, one of the highest in the country,” said Todd Ziebarth, senior vice president for state advocacy and support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “KIPP’s expansion in Los Angeles will benefit the students and help alleviate the unmet demand of families in the area. California also has a strong charter school law, ranking ninth nationally, making it inviting for charter school networks such as KIPP to open schools in the state.”

More than 120,000 students are currently enrolled in public charter schools in the LA Unified School District, the highest such enrollment in the country.

In a statement about the KIPP expansion, the California Charter Schools Association lauded the effort as lending choice and growth to “one of the strongest, if not the strongest charter school sector” in the nation.

“Los Angeles charter schools are performing incredibly well, especially with historically underserved students, and are improving over time.… KIPP’s expansion means more students in Los Angeles will have a choice in where they attend school, and a greater opportunity to get the high-quality education that they deserve and that is available because of charters,” said a CCSA spokesperson.

Whether that growth can be replicated in other parts of the nation is yet to be determined.

“The inner cities are going to suffer as long as the one-size-fits all standard of public schools [thrives],” said Ted Dabrowski, Illinois Policy Institute. “Allowing more charters is a good move. Charters have potential, but it’s not enough; we want to see more choice. A place like Illinois, that has been very hostile to charters and the expansion of reform, could learn from this.”

Ashley Bateman ([email protected]) writes from Alexandria, Virginia.

Image by Ms. SmittyB.