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Argument: Charter schools focus more on behavior and self-esteem

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Supporting quotations

Michael Kunzelman. "In Post-Katrina New Orleans, Educators, Students Embrace Charter Schools". Associated Press - Beignet rewards Indeed, KIPP schools employ virtually theatrical teaching methods and routines. Teachers and students frequently interact through singing, chanting, and hand gestures. "Sparking" in the classroom means sitting up, paying attention, asking and answering questions. Students earn a weekly "paycheck" that rewards good behavior with treats like hot cocoa and beignets, the fried pastries that are a signature snack in New Orleans.

Lessons on behavior are as much a part of the school's curriculum as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

One morning in February, assistant principal Komal Bhasin was supervising a pop quiz in Lamb's classroom when a chirping cell phone broke the silence. A student fished the phone out of her pocket and silently surrendered it to Bhasin.

"Can you apologize to your teammates for disrupting?" Bhasin asked.

"I'm sorry, teammates," the student said. A classmate raised his hand and gave Bhasin his own phone. Bhasin praised the student's honesty.

"When you're in college, you're not going to have somebody watching over you all the time," she told the class. "You're just going to be trusted to do the right thing."

Such basic lessons in deportment are important in a school system known more for high dropout rates than college preparation. But McDonogh 15 encourages students to look beyond high school. Homerooms are named after colleges, college banners adorn the walls, and students are routinely asked to recite what year they would graduate from college.

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