What’s wrong with ‘work hard, be nice?’

Joanne Jacobs:

I’ve always liked KIPP‘s motto: “Work hard. Be nice.” It’s clear and concise. It’s not a false promise, like “if you can dream it, you can do it.” Furthermore, students can work hard and be nice right now, not in some distant future. It stresses effort and good character, rather than being “special.”

After 25 years of educating primarily black and Latino students, the charter network is retiring the slogan and rejecting “the illusion of meritocracy,” writes Richard Barth, KIPP Foundation CEO.

In addition, KIPP will review discipline practices, reassess security and use “restorative” conflict resolution practices.

In a letter to alumni, co-founder Dave Levin apologizes for a culture that “perpetuated white supremacy and anti-Blackness.”