Worth reading: a long Sunday NY Times article on the educational achievement gap between lower-income kids and middle-income kids. The author argues that whereas it was once thought that K-12 schools were unable to overcome the significant environmental handicaps some children face, it is now clear that schools can. The answer: the approach of KIPP schools or something close to it. The author concludes that it's no longer a question of whether lower-income kids can succeed, it's only a question of whether we want to spend the money.
There's another conclusion implicit in the article. The KIPP approach would never have been tried by regular public schools. It was developed primarily because of laws enabling charter schools. Just as school choice advocates predicted, experimentation and parental choice paid off. Big time.
This is an extremely important result, an outcome that seems to be lost in the welter of academic studies trying to determine whether charter schools are, on average, as good as regular public schools.