In episode two, Push or Pull, Coulson investigates why excellent private schools in America such as Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield, MI, have not “scaled up” to replicate their excellence on a larger scale, and ultimately, serve more students.
But is there some place where scaling up excellence is happening? To answer the question, School Inc. looks at America’s charter schools like the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Academy in Austin, TX, part of the highly successful KIPP network of schools; the Sabis School in Springfield, MA; and the American Indian Charter School in Oakland, CA.
Even though some charter schools are highly successful, when they are seen to compete with public schools, some public school districts have voted to shut down the charter school. But not every charter and public school encounter has a negative outcome. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the city’s charter schools provided the facilities and services the other schools needed.
Coulson ends this episode in South America with a comparison of how the success of Chile’s wine industry set the scene for the growth of the country’s successful school networks.