KIPP and Catholic Schools

Guest post by Jim Ryan

I’m a fan of KIPP schools and impressed by their performance, though I appreciate the points made by some critics regarding attrition and selection.  I also admire the goal of KIPP schools to show that demography is not destiny and that all kids can learn.

But I’ve often wondered about KIPP and integration, either racial or socioeconomic.

Here’s the question, which I recognize is a little delicate:  Would KIPP’s methods work in integrated schools?  For example, would the famous SLANT method (sit up straight, listen, ask and answer questions, nod your head, track the speaker), work in schools where a substantial number of kids might not need instruction in how to interact with teachers or other adults?

Does KIPP’s approach, in short, depend on segregation?

Before anyone takes offense, I’m not suggesting, even for a second, that KIPP schools are designed to perpetuate segregation or that they have this effect.  I’m just curious if the methods of the school would work if the schools were more diverse, especially socioeconomically.  If KIPP’s methods are, in part, explicitly designed to teach poorer students what (most? many?) middle-class students learn at home, would KIPP schools have to change if middle-class students attended them?  Or would all kids benefit from the same methods, even if for some it was old news?

In thinking about that question, I wonder if it’s worth considering the experience of urban Catholic schools.  Sure, there is a religious component to those schools, but the emphasis on discipline, high standards, buy in from students and parents, etc., does not seem much different from the KIPP approach.  Catholic schools, for a long time, were attractive to lower- and middle-income white families, including many families who were not Catholic.  Might KIPP be as well?

If so, why are KIPP schools not becoming more diverse more quickly?

138 Responses to “KIPP and Catholic Schools”

  1. thenofunzone Says:

    I agree that this is an important question to consider but one that is largely untouched by the academy because its a political hot potato – and political correctness on the subject of ‘acting white’ is likely to come into play.

    Some very interesting work has been done in this area by Roland Fryer – the Harvard Economist – who because he is African American is able to ask some of these questions without being slammed a racist (at least not by everyone).

    The Importance of Segregation, Discrimination, Peer Dynamics, and Identity in Explaining Trends in the Racial Achievement Gap, March 12, 2010; forthcoming in the Handbook of Social Economics Volume 1.

    Fryer finds in his research that “getting good grades” and demonstrating exemplary behavior toward teachers and school leaders costs Black kids more in terms of peer acceptance than White kids, but that the condition is totally contingent upon the degree of integration in the school. The results are also robust to a myriad alternative specifications and suggest that these are questions policy-makers will have to think about.

    Though given our political leaders’ penchant for demagoguery on issues like busing, affirmative action, and diversity/integration I have little hope that the discussion will be serious. And I have no doubt that it will have a lot to do with “trolling for votes” and absolutely nothing to do with “what’s best for kids.”

  2. TFT Says:

    KIPP schools won’t work for white kids because their white parents wouldn’t put up with it for a second! And some of us think black parents shouldn’t put up with it either. But what else is an impoverished, concerned family going to do? If they want their kid to be in a “good” school, they must leave their poverty, even just for a few hours a day so they can enter the KIPP warehouse–and get whitened. It’s a white supremacist’s dream.

    Also, given the KIPP method of tossing out anyone who doesn’t conform, they clearly can’t scale anything up unless they provide a place for their rejects, which right now are the public schools. Not much of a plan.

    Your question illuminates the attitudes of people like you who apparently have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to schools, children, or the causes of poor academic performance. You love KIPP because KIPP means you don’t have to address the cause of the problem KIPP attempts to solve, namely Poverty.

    Instead of creating prison-like institutions such as KIPP, maybe we should consider making a more fair society so impoverished kids can have the same advantages as my kid.

    Equality. What an idea!

  3. john thompson Says:

    I don’t think you need to hypothesize that segregation is necessary, but we should recognize that people make choices for all types of reasons, including their diverse personalities. I admire KIPP, and I’m an “authoritative traditionalist” type when it comes to discipline but an old hippie when it comes to instruction so I don’t know if KIPP would be for me.

    I was glad that thenofunzone had already addressed research included in the following:

    http://www.ets.org/Media/Research/pdf/PICBWGAP.pdf

    The new ETS study reinforces James Heckman’s stress on noncognitive skills.

    The sad fact is that neighborhood schools are not allowed to address noncognitive factors like the Catholic Church and KIPP. It has nothing to do with religion, and it is largely a legacy of political correctness. The Ed Trust et al. have won the battle arguing that schools should only address cognititive testable skills, and addressing the whole child is just an “Excuse” and “Low Expectations.” But school systems bought their arguement primarily because its cheap and easy. Just write a memo, tell teachers to do “whatever it takes” to build cognitive skills, and magically kids will rise to the challenge.

    But getting back to the diversity of personalities, that’s another reason why we need the full diversities of adult personalities in schools.

    Where I might disagree with Fryer, is that he’s describing dynamics that were real, but I think the trend has corrected itself. Hip hop, for instance, is now a much more constructive force. So, I don’t so much blame the attitudes of today’s kids. Neither do I blame busing, affirmative action etc., but the refusal of adults to talk about those issues.

  4. Kent Says:

    No, the KIPP approach would not likely work well at my school which is quite integrated. My school district might be somewhat unique in that generally speaking, the most problematic kids are mostly Anglo. My district covers a relatively affluent suburban area of single family homes and extends out to some more rural pockets of Central Texas. The district is maybe 50% Anglo, 25% Hispanic and 25% black but almost all the black and Hispanic kids are suburbanites from middle class or affluent communities. The parents of the black students I have are typically a mix of college professors, doctors, bank managers, city and school district employees. And a lot are retired military on 2nd careers (Fort Hood is just down the road). When mom is a retired Sergeant Major and principal at a neighboring high school you don’t even have to call home, only hint that you might.

    Now while a majority of the Anglo kids are also affluent suburbanites, there are some real pockets of rural poverty on the fringes of the district that are almost exclusively Anglo. People living with their guns and dogs in beat up trailers out in the scrublands. Some of the kids coming from those areas are really tough to handle. Dad might be a violent racist meth dealer who bounces in and out of prison. Mom might work at a bar at night and the kids are left to fend for themselves much of the time. Kids from those circumstances bring a LOT of baggage into school. And when I think back to the serious discipline problems I’ve had over the past 4 years, and the kids who must made me tear my hair out, they were almost exclusively Anglo.

    Would KIPP work in a school like mine? I seriously doubt it. A lot of it would be pointless and counter-productive as the kids are generally well behaved and more likely to be bored as anything else. Their lives are also regimented enough as it is with school, sports, music, church, and helicopter parents. Fostering creativity and independent thought are bigger concerns I think.

  5. thenofunzone Says:

    “If they want their kid to be in a “good” school, they must leave their poverty, even just for a few hours a day so they can enter the KIPP warehouse–and get whitened. It’s a white supremacist’s dream.”

    Care to elaborate on what you meant by this statement, TFT? I fail to see what is “white” about the KIPP method? Is it scoring well on tests? Is it doing well in school? Is it following directions with good behavior and listening to adults? Is that “acting white?” … I don’t want to ASSUME that’s what you mean, but the statement is a bit obtuse so I’d be curious what you meant.

  6. Chris Smyr Says:

    “For example, would the famous SLANT method (sit up straight, listen, ask and answer questions, nod your head, track the speaker), work in schools where a substantial number of kids might not need instruction in how to interact with teachers or other adults?”

    What suggests that some students wouldn’t benefit from an added focus on this?

  7. TFT Says:

    KIPP relies on the premise that kids of color learn differently and require an almost prison-like atmosphere in order to be shaped into well behaved, unquestioning bots.

    KIPP founders, who are very white, seem to think the inner-city needs a good kick in the ass and some discipline, then they will act how they are supposed to act–like white kids, like KIPP founders did when they were in their nice, safe, white schools.

    So, when one lives in a hell hole, but has high hopes for their children and are aware of options, the only option they have, since we as a society choose to ignore poverty, is the KIPP military. A place where indiviaulism is shunned, “white” behavior is the model, and kids get booted because of their parents shortfalls.

    I call it a white supremacists dream because they would prefer to whiten everything, especially people of color. KIPP is a way to do that under the guise of helping primarily students of color.

    Maybe we would serve these impoverished communities better by providing things they need to reduce their poverty, like health care, and a fair wage, and for wealthy people to pay their share of taxes, and for business owners to set up shop in these neighborhoods–like say, Safeway, so these people can get some real food instead of the fast food that fills up these communities at the expense of grocery stores.

    You can ASSUME whatever you want.

    Relax and play your race card somewhere else.

  8. Chris Smyr Says:

    TFT’s trolling again, or he has never actually seen a KIPP school before.

  9. toby Says:

    TFT your response is amazingly hypocritical. What is “white” about the behavior in KIPP schools? Specifically?

    “A place where indiviaulism is shunned, “white” behavior is the model, and kids get booted because of their parents shortfalls.”

    So shunning individualism is white? Discipline is white?

    We black folk want the same things white folk want. Safe, constructive environments where kids can learn to read and write and respect elders.

    Why don’t you relax and play your race card somewhere else.

  10. toby Says:

    I just finished looking at your website. It strikes me that much of what you profess to support is actually being done within those nasty charter schools you seem intent on demonizing.

    Emphasis on non-cognative skills? Check
    Vocabulary & Core-knowledge focus? Check

    Yes high-quality early education would be great, but by the time they’re in middle school it’s too late to provide early education.

  11. TFT Says:

    (I really dislike Chris.)

    Charters are selective. In America, education is supposed to be publicly funded and available for every child. Charters make a mockery of that, regardless how much some people love them.

    Just because they may be good for some does not mean they are good for all. But you guys work that way–get yours, and screw the rest. That is the charter way. When KIPP tosses a kid, where does that kid end up? In a non-charter.

    My complaint, or for Chris, my trolling, is not that charter schools are bad at schooling, it’s that their bad at fairness. Which is why I say we need to look at root causes, not band-aids like KIPP and TFA.

    Yes Toby, by middle school it’s too late. No time like the present, then, to address poverty. We can provide universal health care and a free, high quality early childhood education for all American kids. That will do more than KIPP or TFA could ever hope to do.

  12. Chris Smyr Says:

    TFT:

    Descriptors like “prison-like environment” and “unquestioning bots” and “indiviaulism [sic] is shunned”, or inferences that high expectations translates into “a good kick in the ass and some discipline” make it sound like you, again, have no idea what you’re talking about, but are just saying it anyway to grate on people’s nerves or to garner attention (I will refrain from responding after this to quench that desire). I don’t know what else to call it other than trolling. Do you?

  13. TFT Says:

    Chris, that you can’t find the appropriate word to describe what you want to describe is not really something I can help you with, I don’t think. I certainly don’t think I am trolling. I am responding, maybe in a way you don’t like, but it’s not trolling. And I am far from the only person who thinks KIPP schools are how I describe them. Need links?

    I have visited KIPP schools. I know teachers who quit KIPP schools. I know kids who have left public schools to go to KIPP schools and then got kicked out of KIPP schools.

    KIPP schools are very militaristic.

    This: [sic] shows how you are a pedant.

  14. Ira Socol Says:

    KIPP schools are designed to promote segregation, as US Catholic Schools were. But though they may appear superficially connected, there is a massive difference. US Catholic Schools were created and operated by the minority group in order to (a) make Irish immigrants “white” (see Ignatiev) while (b) preserving the Catholic religion. KIPP Schools are created and run by the white elites in order to (a) make Black and Latino kids “white” while (b) ensuring that Black and Latino kids do not get the same opportunities as wealthy white kids.

    Let’s just take “SLANT” – the white Calvinist indoctrination of non-white kids into Protestant notions of gaze and attention (see Sobe). This is the same indoctrination into white Protestant culture which too many American Catholic leaders embraced in the 19th Century (which is what drove the massive cultural wedge between Irish Irish and American Irish). Yet, even in US Catholic school it was softened by the Mass (with its opposition to single focus, and lack of dependence on print), and by Irish literature.

    Though in the US Catholic School there was a driving tension between the Irish and Catholic cultures on one side and white American “norms” on the other, in KIPP, minority culture is wholly wrong, and white attention systems are entirely “right.”

    In the end both are colonial legacies. Irish immigrants found themselves caught between the desire to become white and their non-Protestant culture. Today’s minority communities are offered their choice of KIPP/TFA or nothing at all for their kids.

    These are the choices forced upon people without power by societies which seek to keep them unequal forever.

  15. Chris Smyr Says:

    Ira Socol:

    You need to better substantiate this claim: “KIPP Schools are created and run by the white elites in order to (a) make Black and Latino kids “white” while (b) ensuring that Black and Latino kids do not get the same opportunities as wealthy white kids.”

    Why does “sit up straight, listen, ask and answer questions, nod your head, track the speaker” suggest “whiteness”?

    How is KIPP limiting opportunities of black and Latino students?

  16. Purity Says:

    A troll will post inflammatory and off-topic responses with the intent to disrupt the discussion and make people angry, for no other reason than to make them angry. Disagreeing with you and using terminology that you dislike, while still staying on topic, does not a troll make. Just FYI.

  17. TFT Says:

    The question really is, why doesn’t it to you, Chris?

    You really don’t see it. Neither does Toby, who is apparently black.

    From my friend’s perspective, who happens to be black, KIPP’s “way” is for kids to “act white” and shun their culture.

    I understand if you two don’t see that, as it takes a rather large view and some experience to see.

    If we simply addressed factors that lead to poverty we would see similar or greater gains in the wellbeing of the impoverished class (yes, they are a class. Moynahan is currently being vindicated).

    Imagine being black and seeing your fellow citizens pay their fair share of taxes, resulting in better services (that whites take for granted) in your neighborhoods, better materials at the local school, good jobs nearby, and places to buy decent food.

    KIPP founders think they are doing a service, and I suppose they are, but only to a point. But they do a disservice too. They de-culture people. They place demands on families Chris’s parents wouldn’t have allowed for their precious little boy or themselves. Besides, Chris’s family got where they are by their own savvy, intelligence and hard work!

    Oh, and they’re white.

  18. Chris Smyr Says:

    Purity:

    It’s more than disliking the terminology, it’s the fact that the terminology suggests he’s never seen a KIPP school before, or he has but chooses to post incendiary comments that challenge constraints of logic and/or what he actually might have seen. He needs to clarify what “prison-like” means to him, and how pushing for students to ask clarifying questions labels them as “unquestioning bots”, or why high expectations leads to a charge of “white supremacy”.

    And FYI, the responses need not be off-topic for it to be considered trolling.

  19. TFT Says:

    Chris, now you are trolling. Your comment has nothing to do with the post. Nothing. In fact, it’s all about me!

    While we’re trolling:

    What my terminology suggests to you, an intelligent, well educated, bright young man, has nothing to do with my terminology, it has to do with how you choose to interpret it, and you choose to interpret it erroneously. Or maybe you really don’t understand my complicated words. Here:

    Prison-like seems a simple concept, but I’ll clarify it for you. You see, in prison you have little freedom and you must do what you are told, or face serious consequences. You must line up and remain silent. Just like KIPP.

    Asking questions is not what makes them bots. It’s when they have to stand in line, hands at their sides, in their uniforms, waiting for their classmate to finish peeing, and they all better be quiet. It’s when they have to track their teacher with their eyes, and face some sanction for not doing so. It’s the squashing of spontaneity, free will and joy.

    School was fun for me, and probably for Chris too! Not so much these KIPP kids.

  20. edlharris Says:

    TFT,
    Remember this about Chris’s arguments:

    http://www.eduwonk.com/2009/10/more-dc-3.html#comment-114670

    He wrote that one doesn’t need evidence to prove something to be true.
    Just saying it is enough.
    An absolute URL: So when Michelle Rhee, former leader of the New Teacher Project, puts out lies on her resume about her students’ progress and the acclaims she received from the national new media, Chris believes her in spite of the lack of evidence supporting her and, in fact, directly contradicting her.

    She said, he believes.
    (And he got quite agitated when I pointed that that’s the way creationists think.
    Perhaps he believes that if people associate fraud and Rhee with Teach For America, it will reflect poorly on him, another Teach For America alumni.)

  21. TFT Says:

    ed,

    Chris is young, smarmy, and a bit too bright for his britches. He’ll either grow up, get taken down, or remain the pedant he is and become one of America’s leaders. Unfortunately, I fear the worst.

  22. Ira Socol Says:

    Chris:

    Though you are not likely to be convinced by what I say, the notion of “attention” you desire to force onto KIPP students is Calvinist, and Calvinist only. It is the essence of “whiteness” as that is expressed historically in the United States (citations for which are provided above). Why can’t a learner recline and look out the window while learning? Because John Calvin thought it was disrespectful. Why can’t communities learn in group conversation rather than listening to a “master”? Because John Calvin believed in a single truth transmitted through a hierarchy.

    Now, I assume you are not actually asking if elites created and run KIPP, obviously these are elite-designed projects for the poor. As for the purpose, well, why don’t the kids in KIPP schools get the same things that the kids in Scarsdale and River Forest get? Why don’t they get the creative education needed for the best jobs in this century? Is it because they are “genetically inferior”? Or because we won’t spend the time and money to get the best teachers? Or because we’re training them – as the British Empire did – to be “lesser whites” who will be “ok” but not challenge the children of the elite for the best jobs?

    http://www.openeducation.net/2008/12/11/ira-david-socol-on-teach-for-america-kipp-schools-and-reforming-education/
    http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2009/11/colonialism-of-michelle-rhee-or-tfa-v.html

  23. Chris Smyr Says:

    TFT:

    1) Look up the definition of “troll”. Or are we arguing “informally” and that’s acceptable?

    2) There’s no deep interpretation needed for assuming that “prison-like” means “little freedom… do what you are told… remain silent”. That is easily understood. What’s laughable is your argument applies as much to KIPP as it does to any other public school classroom. Every teacher in America expects that students will do what they are instructed to do (and face consequences appropriately), and will remain silent during certain parts of instruction. As in KIPP, however, students in various classrooms appreciate diverse strategies of instruction that are not just “sit and listen”. You ought to know this if you’ve done observations at a KIPP school before.

    3) “Track their teacher with their eyes” is a skill taught as early as kindergarten in most schools, and it is normally encouraged in all grades when the teacher is doing direct instruction (although many teachers will lower their expectations to allow a few students to not pay attention). Again, a lousy argument biased against KIPP.

    4) “It’s the squashing of spontaneity, free will and joy.” This makes a lot of faulty assumptions, like that students do not get to share these things when they are at KIPP, or that KIPP teachers are robots who are programmed with only one teaching strategy and seek out a way to promote a lifeless education for all.

    5) KIPP espouses white supremacy! …I just wanted to bring that gem up again.

  24. TFT Says:

    1) We are arguing informally, sonny. BTW, I wanted to look it up, but I wasn’t sure which dictionary you would approve of, you little pedant.

    2) In non-KIPP schools, kids don’t get tossed for not adhering to a KIPP-style code of conduct. Charters are, shall we say, extra-legal in their ability to remove students. Traditional public schools can’t do that. They take, and pretty much keep, all comers.

    3) I have never, ever, in my nearly 30 years of working with children, heard any teacher talk about having student track the teacher with their eyes. We do teach young readers how to utilize text, and make clear about left to right, top to bottom on the page, but it is up to the teacher to be engaging enough to get their attention, not rely on young kids tracking the teacher with their eyes. Besides, it harkens back a “look at me, boy!” sentiment.

    4) You may think my assumptions are faulty, but they are not even assumptions. They are observations.

    5) As Ira and I both already pointed out to you, KIPP schools operate based on the assumption that kids of color are different and need different styles of pedagogy in order to be successful. Indeed, KIPP requires its students ignore who they are and conform to what KIPP thinks they should be–well dressed, well behaved, quiet, always paying attention to the authority without fail–and that is the white supremacist’s dream. The funny thing is, you are a lefty who buys this shit and thinks it’s just great!

    lagniappe) That you and many others are enamored of KIPP illuminates you, not some misunderstanding/trolling on my part.

  25. Cliff Says:

    TFT, get a life. You sound like you are burned out. Have you ever been a part of something successful? Offer something productive — there must be something you can point to in 30 years — and you might be worth reading, but name calling and complaints is a waste of every one’s time.

  26. Chris Smyr Says:

    1) If you’re still unsure of what “informal logic” entails, you really should stop referring to it. Again, also look up what “troll” means, if you’re still curious– Wikipedia is fine.

    2) You’re changing the argument again. If you are stepping down from the prison analogy, say so instead of ignoring the counterargument.

    3) That you have never, ever have seen it doesn’t make it so (again, authority claims don’t hold for long on the internet). Here are a few links for you to gander at, suggesting that increased eye contact pays off for students, and an example of maintaining eye contact in pre-K standards:

    1. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1475753?seq=4
    2. http://jrm.sagepub.com/content/29/3/209
    3. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=15&ved=0CB8QFjAEOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sde.ct.gov%2Fsde%2Flib%2Fsde%2Fword_docs%2Fcurriculum%2FELA_Prek_8_GLEs_EDITED1.doc&ei=UgViTOXkKYXQsAPamOm8CA&usg=AFQjCNG-WHp3e2qU-Np_6kL_Pd18KbrjhA

    4) So you’ve observed that “all Kipp students do not experience joy”, and that “KIPP teachers are robots”. That would be funny if you weren’t actually serious about it.

    5) Both you and IRA neglected to substantiate the claim, and you are again avoiding it. You are suggesting that KIPP students are “ignoring who they are”, which I’m guessing you assume to be the opposite of “well dressed, well behaved, quiet, always paying attention to the authority without fail”.

    That KIPP promotes instructional strategies that have proven success in getting students to learn more does not imply that it is “whitening” the students, unless of course you make the asinine assumption above of what it means to be white and non-white.

    Furthermore, the mission of KIPP (“demographics do not define destiny”) is probably the polar opposite of any movement toward white supremacy, which I imagine would seek to reinforce achievement gaps, to culture students into becoming unthinking automatons, and in general to squelch any form of dissent to the notion that white students are the better, more deserving type of students. You’ve failed completely at supporting the claim that KIPP is doing any of that.

    Honestly, that you might genuinely feel that KIPP equates to white supremacy is a vile thought and I am disgusted to know that you are someone’s teacher.

  27. Chris Smyr Says:

    TFT:

    1) If you’re still unsure of what “informal logic” entails, you really should stop referring to it. Again, also look up what “troll” means, if you’re still curious– Wikipedia is fine.

    2) You’re changing the argument again. If you are stepping down from the prison analogy, say so instead of ignoring the counterargument.

    3) That you have never, ever seen it doesn’t make it so (again, authority claims don’t hold for long on the internet). Here are a few links for you to gander at, suggesting that increased eye contact pays off for students, and an example of maintaining eye contact in pre-K standards (add the http:// tag in front of each–links get lost in moderation):

    1. jstor.org/stable/1475753?seq=4
    2. jrm.sagepub.com/content/29/3/209
    3. google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=15&ved=0CB8QFjAEOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sde.ct.gov%2Fsde%2Flib%2Fsde%2Fword_docs%2Fcurriculum%2FELA_Prek_8_GLEs_EDITED1.doc&ei=UgViTOXkKYXQsAPamOm8CA&usg=AFQjCNG-WHp3e2qU-Np_6kL_Pd18KbrjhA

    4) So you’ve observed that “all Kipp students do not experience joy”, and that “KIPP teachers are robots”. That would be funny if you weren’t actually serious about it.

    5) Both you and Ira neglected to substantiate the claim, and you are again avoiding it. You are suggesting that KIPP students are “ignoring who they are”, which I’m guessing you assume to be the opposite of “well dressed, well behaved, quiet, always paying attention to the authority without fail”.

    That KIPP promotes instructional strategies that have proven success in getting students to learn more does not imply that it is “whitening” the students, unless of course you make the asinine assumption above of what it means to be white and non-white.

    Furthermore, the mission of KIPP (”demographics do not define destiny”) is probably the polar opposite of any movement toward white supremacy, which I imagine would seek to reinforce achievement gaps, to culture students into becoming unthinking automatons, and in general to squelch any form of dissent to the notion that white students are the better, more deserving type of students. You’ve failed completely at explaining how KIPP is doing any of that.

    Honestly, that you might genuinely feel that KIPP equates to white supremacy is a vile thought and I am disgusted to know that you are someone’s teacher.

  28. edlharris Says:

    TFT,
    It’s sad that when one mentions trolls, Chris thinks of people who disagree with him.
    When I hear the word troll, I think of these wonderful books by Tomie de Paola, one of the best illustrators and authors of children’s books:
    Helga’s Dowry: A Troll Love Story
    and
    THE CAT ON THE DOVREFELL

    Maybe we could send these books Chris’s way.

    I’d rather consort with a troll than with a liar.

  29. Purity Says:

    Chris,
    I’m not sure it serves this discussion for me to continue, but just for the sake of further clarification: Calling somebody a troll who is not trolling is simply name calling; and just because somebody disagrees with you, no matter how adamantly they make their case, does not make them a troll. I looked it up in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

  30. Tom Conry Says:

    Ira Socol made several excellent points, complete with a reference to Sobe. I think he assumed that writers here were familiar with basic sociological literature of e.g. Bourdieu, Foucault, the Frankfurt School people, the kind of thing that ought to have been gotten out of the way in grad school. That way when he mentions terms of art like the “gaze,” there should be some glimmer of recognition in those who are defending KIPP and SLANT.

    But no.

    This is pretty much what happened to me a couple of threads ago.

    After reading here for about a year, my impression is that the writers are generally in over their heads. They don’t seem to have mastery of any thick description of teaching (that is, they are generally reductive about it) at any level that I recognize, and they don’t seem to know much about theory. When it is mentioned, the points either pass by unrecognized or are sloughed off in a way that indicates that the writer lacks even the most general grasp of the argument.

    Mr. Smyr, your cut-and-paste “research” in your riposte with TFT does you no credit. In fact, it’s a prime example of what I’m writing about here. For example, your first link is to a 1971 article about the utility of eye contact. I think that you might agree that it’s total fluff, the sort of thing that gives educational “research” its bad name. The rest, so far as I can tell, is of of a piece. One of the links I could not make function.

    Compare this lightweight stuff to the depth of field in, just to pick an example out of the air, the classic essay on observation by Clifford Geertz “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture”. In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. (New York: Basic Books, 1973) 3-30, an essay that every teaching student still has to read and discuss so far as I know at my alma mater. Or take the correspondence between Adorno and Walter Benjamin. Or . . . we could go on.

    My question to the group is . . . what does it mean when the people who claim the mantle of leadership and the interpretation of data are not particularly suited for that office? When their argument is that, well, no one really thinks that there is a “conspiracy” (no one used that word) to destabilize and privatize public education, and so discussions of the larger policy implications of charter schools etc. ought to be out of bounds?

    What does it mean when teachers are called “trolls” by people who do not evince any particular charism to be an educator or even a grasp of the basic dialectic of what it means to be in a teacher?

  31. Chris Smyr Says:

    Purity:

    I appreciate that you want to clarify, but I disagree. Using the Wikipedia definition:

    “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

    And also this:

    “The content of a “troll” posting generally falls into several areas. It may consist of an apparently foolish contradiction or common knowledge, a deliberately offensive insult to the readers of the news group or a broad request for trivial follow-up postings.”

    Inflammatory and extraneous are the key words here. It matters not if the person considers himself a troll. “Arguments” that can be described as inflammatory and extraneous, where some sort of extremist claim is leveled that not only denigrates a person or group, but that also proves impossible for the person to justify with some kind of factual evidence or logic, should be called troll postings. Even *IF* one thinks the posting was on-topic, the muddy nature of the claim and the inability of the poster to adequately defend the claim only soils the internet forum and lowers the possibility of actual thoughtful discourse. If the author knew full well that the tone of the posting was inflammatory and would likely disrupt/intercept a potential discussion with others across the aisle, particularly with little basis on which to make the claim, the word is justifiably used.

    The list of such postings runs LOOONG on this forum: Labeling KIPP as enablers of white supremacists; Reassuring others that TFA teachers have no dedication; Asserting that Andrew Rotherham is only in it for the money and doesn’t support students; Implying that reformers (and Rhee in particular) hate teachers. We just had another thread with all sorts of comments like these, with lots of vitriol and little desire for factual support. One might as well just repeatedly post, “Refomers hate America,” over and over again, as it would save readers time. These are all examples (albeit to different degrees) of troll postings. I understand that the definition is sometimes considered a subjective one, but honestly there shouldn’t be any one here who thinks any of these example claims aren’t both inflammatory and extraneous. They add absolutely nothing to the discussion, regardless what side one is perched.

    From my experience, there have been countless times on this blog where I’ve been interested in something that Andy or a guest blogger will post, and will click the “COMMENTS” section to add to the discussion, only to wince that several commenters are already braying like donkeys about how useless this blog is, or how terrible the ideas espoused in the blog post are, and they themselves will drop all sorts of obtuse arguments and derisions about any and all opposing parties, and it’ll make me quickly decide on lurking instead, as I’d rather not get involved. I imagine this might happen to others, as well.

    The rules of internet forums tend to stipulate that one should rather ignore postings that one knows are big on bite but small on substance, but when comments like these nearly outnumber those that *are* substantive, therein lies the dilemma. What’s the solution? Remaining silent is a good bet, but the rigor of the discussion falters when this kind of thing keeps up–and it definitely has kept up. Maybe responding to it is a bad thing in its own right, but maybe it’ll also help remind some readers to think before they post incendiary comments?

    Tom Conry:

    1) The links were stuff I found after maybe 5 minutes on Google. I’m sure we could all find better, but the point was that TFT refused to believe that eye contact is a skill that is practiced in classrooms, and one that may also help students learn. It’s on several standards I browsed through, there’s research done on it, and it seems to work pretty well for KIPP.

    2) There’s not much else that I can respond to there. The rest of your post was a lot of hot air, and a jab at my use of the word “troll”. Read my reply to Purity if you don’t understand my usage of the word.

  32. TJ D'Agostino Says:

    A leader at KIPP in Houston told me recently that KIPP is emulating what urban Catholic schools have always done well, a strong and decisive school culture where all students are expected to excel and all faculty and staff are on board with a certain vision and mission in the school that manifests itself in particular ways that leads to strong student performance. Though Jim raises an interesting point about KIPP and their predominantly minority enrollment, one has to inquire about the other obvious point here: Why not preserve the urban Catholic schools that were doing such a good job for these children in the first place.

    “Catholic schools, for a long time, were attractive to lower- and middle-income white families, including many families who were not Catholic.”

    Unfortunately, urban Catholic schools have been closing in droves because of any lack of political commitment to provide greater accessibility to the urban poor that they are so effective at serving. Vouchers and tax-credits would keep urban Catholic schools in operation, would provide greater access to quality schools for low-income children, and would provide a religious option currently denied to the poor for their children’s education.

  33. Ira Socol Says:

    I’m not sure why this site has blocked my second comment from last night: Let me try to repeat it:

    Chris:

    Though you are not likely to be convinced by what I say, the notion of “attention” you desire to force onto KIPP students is Calvinist, and Calvinist only. It is the essence of “whiteness” as that is expressed historically in the United States (citations for which are provided above). Why can’t a learner recline and look out the window while learning? Because John Calvin thought it was disrespectful. Why can’t communities learn in group conversation rather than listening to a “master”? Because John Calvin believed in a single truth transmitted through a hierarchy.

    Now, I assume you are not actually asking if elites created and run KIPP, obviously these are elite-designed projects for the poor. As for the purpose, well, why don’t the kids in KIPP schools get the same things that the kids in Scarsdale and River Forest get? Why don’t they get the creative education needed for the best jobs in this century? Is it because they are “genetically inferior”? Or because we won’t spend the time and money to get the best teachers? Or because we’re training them – as the British Empire did – to be “lesser whites” who will be “ok” but not challenge the children of the elite for the best jobs?

    http://www.openeducation.net/2008/12/11/ira-david-socol-on-teach-for-america-kipp-schools-and-reforming-education/
    http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2009/11/colonialism-of-michelle-rhee-or-tfa-v.html

    And add this:

    Chris still wants “substantiation” but he is replacing (as Tom notes) the kind of academic work which should lie behind this discourse with “five minutes on Google” (and not, it should be noted, Google Scholar, where actual substantiation might lie).

    Tom is right, there are basic “grad school knowledge” issues here that make some of the arguments absurd. I do understand that most Americans are never exposed to theories of colonialism or post-colonialism, so I referenced Ignatiev’s “How the Irish Became White” (one of the essential bits of literature for anyone discussing the question at the top) as well as Noah Sobe’s brilliant look at the concept of “Gaze” in the classroom (focused heavily on Marie Montessori’s research at the turn of the 20th Century). I would also list Edward Said’s work as essential reading (Chris, you can not challenge what TFT and I are saying without understanding the theories behind our statements), and one might even want to take a deep reading of Kipling’s works. You can also spend a week with Google Books and learn “why” these concepts were introduced into the American classroom by Henry Barnard and Elwood Cubberley. The purpose, as Cubberley was fond of saying, of American education was “deCatholicification” (then) as it often is “deBlackification” and “deLatinofication” now.

    I’m a post-modernist, and I do not believe that everyone must accept the same sense of reality, but I do think those who argue loudly need to do the actual work behind intellectual argument before opening either their mouths or keyboards.

  34. Ira Socol Says:

    I’m not sure why this site has blocked my second comment from last night: Let me try to repeat it:

    Chris:

    Though you are not likely to be convinced by what I say, the notion of “attention” you desire to force onto KIPP students is Calvinist, and Calvinist only. It is the essence of “whiteness” as that is expressed historically in the United States (citations for which are provided above). Why can’t a learner recline and look out the window while learning? Because John Calvin thought it was disrespectful. Why can’t communities learn in group conversation rather than listening to a “master”? Because John Calvin believed in a single truth transmitted through a hierarchy.

    Now, I assume you are not actually asking if elites created and run KIPP, obviously these are elite-designed projects for the poor. As for the purpose, well, why don’t the kids in KIPP schools get the same things that the kids in Scarsdale and River Forest get? Why don’t they get the creative education needed for the best jobs in this century? Is it because they are “genetically inferior”? Or because we won’t spend the time and money to get the best teachers? Or because we’re training them – as the British Empire did – to be “lesser whites” who will be “ok” but not challenge the children of the elite for the best jobs?

    And add this:

    Chris still wants “substantiation” but he is replacing (as Tom notes) the kind of academic work which should lie behind this discourse with “five minutes on Google” (and not, it should be noted, Google Scholar, where actual substantiation might lie).

    Tom is right, there are basic “grad school knowledge” issues here that make some of the arguments absurd. I do understand that most Americans are never exposed to theories of colonialism or post-colonialism, so I referenced Ignatiev’s “How the Irish Became White” (one of the essential bits of literature for anyone discussing the question at the top) as well as Noah Sobe’s brilliant look at the concept of “Gaze” in the classroom (focused heavily on Marie Montessori’s research at the turn of the 20th Century). I would also list Edward Said’s work as essential reading (Chris, you can not challenge what TFT and I are saying without understanding the theories behind our statements), and one might even want to take a deep reading of Kipling’s works. You can also spend a week with Google Books and learn “why” these concepts were introduced into the American classroom by Henry Barnard and Elwood Cubberley. The purpose, as Cubberley was fond of saying, of American education was “deCatholicification” (then) as it often is “deBlackification” and “deLatinofication” now.

    I’m a post-modernist, and I do not believe that everyone must accept the same sense of reality, but I do think those who argue loudly need to do the actual work behind intellectual argument before opening either their mouths or keyboards.

  35. Thomas Says:

    Chris for the love of G-d, leave it alone. We all know you’re right. Don’t engage with these Trolls!

  36. Ira Socol Says:

    because this site is blocking my links (but not those of other posters) I will suggest Googling “ira socol” + “teach for america” for more of my thoughts on this topic.

  37. edconsumer Says:

    I kind of like it when Ira and TFT write. It shines a spotlight on how utterly wacky the farthest left has become when it comes to education policy. Gee – it is shocking that President Obama has chosen a different path! I have no idea why he wouldn’t want to be associated with these viewpoints!

  38. John Doe Says:

    well dressed, well behaved, quiet, always paying attention to the authority without fail–

    It’s you guys who are the white supremacists. You’re full of patronizing condescension towards black people, so much that you think that being well-dressed and well-behaved and quiet is something beyond the capacity of black kids and that somehow doesn’t serve them well. It doesn’t occur to you that 99% of employers out there, like it or not, are wary of hiring people (black or white) who have their pants hanging halfway off their butts and who won’t look them in the eye and who can’t talk standard English.

    Black kids are not being done any favors by having privileged white people pat them on the head and say, “There, there, now, your true nature is to act like a gangster and a thug, but don’t you bother trying to act like me, because I’m a white person who is by nature capable of being well-dressed and well-behaved.”

    You guys are racist to the core. You’re hurting black people, or you would be hurting them if you knew any.

  39. Eddy L Harris Says:

    But do you remember that time Michelle Rhee said something completely irrelevant? Look at this quote I pulled from an youtube comment:

    “i wont get of the internet, its not ur choice 2 decide weather or not i can use the internet and u dont even no how old i am so dont be calling me little girl. u dont even no me so y are u hatting? o thats right cause u have no life, u h8 on justin and me,wow u sure do have a fabulous life. LOZER!”

    Chris S. is a cyclops (and now i’m going to finish my post with a run on sentence in parenthesis as an aside to everyone who is reading this right now as i type it)

  40. Ira Socol Says:

    edconsumer:

    Belittling others without making any kind of argument suggests that while you may have been exposed to education, you have hardly “consumed” it.

    Do you have a point-of-view based in knowledge? Do you have an argument?

    If so, as I would ask any student, please attempt to express it.

  41. Ira Socol Says:

    John Doe (if that is your real name):

    Understanding human cultural differences and working with them is not racism. Assuming northern European Protestant culture is the highest form of human expression is.

    You have decided that the way John Calvin wanted 16th Century white people to behave is the top of the human evolutionary chain, but I, and most of the planet, might disagree.

    Like the English teachers in the 19th Century who destroyed the Welsh language (and tried to obliterate Irish), like the Protestant preachers who stripped music, incense, and stained glass out of worship places, like those who led America’s “Indian Schools” and their destruction of Native American culture, you accept the racist viewpoint that “white = superior.”

    Please remember that there are many ways of learning in the world, and many ways of learning among the students in any classroom. We succeed as educators when we find the best ways for individuals to learn and succeed in the world, not when we attempt to mould every child in our image.

    And it is a fairly obvious fact that the biggest winners in this century’s economy will be those who are better at creating their own learning, those collaborating across cultures, those able to see what those staring at the teacher cannot see. Of course that is the education being provided to the white elite which you seem to wan to keep from those currently in the underclass.

  42. Art Says:

    Jim Ryan’s question was why KIPP schools have not attracted larger numbers of White students. I may be wrong but it seems to me that the simplest explanation is that KIPP puts its school where there are large concentrations of Black and Hispanic students and makes special efforts to reach out to students in schools with large minority populations. That said, the example of Catholic schools seems more a red herring than a true comparison. In any event, the KIPP web site says that 3 percent of KIPP students are White and 2 percent are Asian.

  43. John Doe Says:

    Assuming northern European Protestant culture is the highest form of human expression is.

    No, it’s racist to equate being dressed neatly and being well-behaved with “northern European Protestant culture.” If you had ever met any older black people, you’d know how ridiculous and racist it is to suggest such a thing — many older black folks will proudly talk about how they had to dress up for school and church, etc.

  44. John Doe Says:

    I wish you could travel back in time and tell these students that they’re not acting like real black people, because they’re too neatly dressed and they’re looking the teacher in the eye:
    http://www.essence.com/news/hot_topics_4/smithsonian_makes_effort_to_restore_historically_black_sch.php

  45. steve f. Says:

    Hi John Doe,

    I’m not sure if you intended the irony in the photo you posted.

    As the caption cites, the school pictured was created by Sears retail magnate Julius Rosenwald in an effort I would think not too dissimilar from that of the Gap retail magnate Donald Fisher and the KIPP schools.

    A seeming repetition of history. But why? and why did those historically black schools fall into disrepair?

  46. thenofunzone Says:

    anyone who is an empiricist stop replying to tft and ira. ira said it all, he’s a post-modernist. he doesn’t believe in objective reality. my god, the man cites foucault, and then lashes out that people haven’t “read the literature.” I’m an academic – dude no one cites Foucault anymore except for some hippies who did too much LSD in the 70s that are on their deathbeds in the ivory tower at berkeley. i love how ira comes in here and acts like all superior in his knowledge of “the literature.” to that i’d say 1) sociology is the weakest social science there is – hardly empirical and no causal claims about human behavior are made – or rarely so. The literature worth citing is the hard stuff – American Economic Review, American Political Science Review, stuff that is experimental and can be replicated by natural science. I seriously can’t believe people buy this fluff anymore. And yes, edconsumer, you are right of course Obama and the Dems are going to embrace KIPP-style education reform because the public likes results and they pay for the schools. Schools are democratically run and the public should get what it wants. Obama and Duncan aren’t going to create ed policy by developing grandiose theory about Calvinism that is buttressed by some theoretical case study that appeared in the journal “Social Forces” in volume 33 subvolume 12 in 1971 that earned some radical loser tenure at Oberin.

    You are so far out of the mainstream of intellectual discourse its a joke. In social science we care about causal inferences, not your pet theory. I wish for one week posters (no matter their politics or view) on eduwonk were required to cite PEER REVIEWED research everytime they made a claim – PEER reviewed from a top journal in the field that is somewhat recent. Also, that they actually apply the research correctly. So if the class size research in STAR (TN) shows improvements for kids in grade 0-3, don’t say dumbass stuff like The research says all class size reducation policies work – um no it doesn’t… like read the footnotes hoss.

  47. John Doe Says:

    I’m not sure if you intended the irony in the photo you posted. As the caption cites, the school pictured was created by Sears retail magnate Julius Rosenwald in an effort I would think not too dissimilar from that of the Gap retail magnate Donald Fisher and the KIPP schools.

    No, Rosenwald donated “seed money” to build several thousand schools, but the black communities themselves had to put up most of the money, and then they were obviously in charge of running the schools after that. Very different from KIPP — except that, marvel of marvels, they seemed to think of good behavior in school as something that they were capable of, not as “white” oppression.

    Black people who knew what REAL white oppression was like aren’t typically amused by white leftists pompously telling them that it’s oppression for kids to learn to sit still in school, etc.

  48. thenofunzone Says:

    i have an idea john doe, ira, steve f. and the entire gang:

    why don’t we stop attributing stuff to “what black people think” (oh let me guess steve f….”you have black friends?”

    Why not, instead, go to the research and survey data. As far as I can tell:

    1) African Americans support school vouchers FAR MORE than whites and this is confirmed in tons of studies
    2) African Americans support Merit Pay for teachers based on increases in, you guessed it, standardized test scores (citation: Public Policy Institute of California, Annual Education Survey, April 2010).

    Okay, we could also survey about whether Black people believe as Bill Cosby does that ghetto culture and “thug life” does not represent true black culture. Maybe such a survey has been done. I’d wager that most African Americans would vote for more discipline in the schools (what y’all call acting white or Calvinist according to our resident sociologist of unpublished musings) – just based on the fact that Blacks tend to be more conservative on social issues than whites (e.g. Abortion, School Prayer), but why not test this with data rather than just say:

    Black folk think X cuz I know someone Black and gosh he agrees der wit me

  49. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    Edconsumer says, “…it is shocking that President Obama has chosen a different path!”

    Finally, something I can agree with on this blog. Look for the following developments in the fall:

    Most laid-off teachers back on the job;

    Michelle Rhee and other teacher-bashers silenced (If it hasn’t happened already);

    More presidential speeches expressing gratitude for teachers;

    More presidential speeches on the need to improve standardized tests before they can be used to evaluate teachers or anyone else;

    Teachers “becoming part of the executive team charged with the responsibility of improving schools” (Walt Gardner’s Reality Check, August 11);

    Bill Gates investing more in teacher empowerment (Teacher Plus, Boston);

    Life-long educators being consulted more than people who have taught fewer than three years;

    Sharp oversight of the financial dealings of charter schools (Thank you, New York Times);

    Significant improvements (preschool, healthcare, school and social supports) for our poorest children.

    Yes, at last we have a president with real brains, in addition to being the consummate politician. Way to go, President Obama!

  50. Michael Magee Says:

    In Rhode Island, Mayoral Academies are answering precisely the question you’re posing here, essentially, does the “no excuses” charter school model work in racially and economically diverse schools. Rhode Island Mayoral Academies brought in Democracy Prep Public Schools to operate its first schools on the heels of their success in Harlem, where the overwhelming majority of their students are low-income students of color.

    In their “Democracy Prep Blackstone Valley” schools, approximately 67% of students are low-income and 50% are students of color. They are some of the most diverse schools in the state. And everyone is thriving. In its first year of operation, DPBV effectively CLOSED the achievement gap in its own building according to Terra Nova, DRA2 and STEP assessments. The students’ achievement growth was extraordinary.

    Perhaps just as interestingly, parent satisfaction rates were sky-high among all socio-demographic groups according to a detailed school environment survey conducted by Brown University. Imagine that! All parents appreciated a school environment where their children were focussed on learning, achieving at high-levels and respectful of each other!

    I certainly applaud Democracy Prep for operating schools in Central Harlem, and its beyond laughable to imply that they are somehow culpable for the lack of diversity in their Harlem schools. I would also anticipate that we will see more and more “no excuses” schools operating in socio-economically diverse enrollment areas. In Rhode Island its a done deal.

  51. steve f. Says:

    Hi John Doe,

    I’m not sure I follow you now. I understand the degree to which the Rosenwald schools were different from KIPP schools in the nature of local control.

    But are you advocating for more KIPP schools or more local segregated schools like the Rosenwald schools?

    Either case results in a segregated school system – maybe I am a white lefty, but that doesn’t seem like what we should be after.

    And to “thenofunzone” – I have no doubt that the survey results of African American parents would yield those answers.

    But, I would also think that African American parents would be in favor of more equatable school funding across urban and suburban districts and more social services in schools and urban neighborhoods.

    This issue here is segregation, and the inherent inequality that it produces – you can slice, dice, and survey that anyway you want.

    So, until elites in this country demand and pay for the same quality of school for urban youth and that they demand for their own children – the system is broken in my opinion. KIPP perpetuates this system.

  52. edconsumer Says:

    Hey Linda, I think President Obama is great – I worked the phones and walked for him and will do it again in 2012. I’m glad you agree! He picked a great secretary of education and is doing a great job of showing people how important teaching is and, therefore, how important it is to only have great teachers in the classroom. I thought you were opposed to the administration’s policies so this is an exciting development to learn that we are aligned.

    Ira and TFT disagree I fear. But glad you are in Camp Obama/Duncan.

  53. Ira Socol Says:

    Couple of responses:

    TheNoFunZone: Maybe you are a better reader than I am a writer, but I don’t think I cited or quoted Foucault. If you are imagining Foucaults hiding behind the curtains, that’s fine, but I was discussing postcolonialists, which are, despite what might be gaps in your reading, a critical part of any conversation about the origins and purpose of the Catholic school system in the United States.

    Of course TheNoFunZone is a symbol of static academia. New, non-mainstream thought need not apply. The best ideas are determined by… hmmm, a vote of theNoFunZone’s closest friends? I’m not sure.

    Funny that so many here are ready (as Obama is) to write a blank check to a school model which loses 50% of its students every year. That system is “proven”?

    John Doe: Yes, African leaders who choose to wear African garb, Ghandi tossing out his British suits and wearing Indian dress, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney rejecting English grammar for Irish grammar, these people are all “wrong” in your book because you seem to perceive wearing a tie and obediently staring at your master to be the most evolved form of human interactions.

    I’m still waiting for any “pro-KIPP” commenter here to explain why children can not learn lying on the floor (see Montessori schools), or why obedient gaze is essential to learning for every child. I’m also waiting for any “pro-KIPP” commenter to explain why the students of the ultra-elites, whether in the Scarsdale Public Schools or St. Ann’s in Brooklyn, get such different educations than KIPP offers.

    Or is it simply that KIPP is the best you are willing to do for children of color?

  54. Pro-KIPP Says:

    “I’m still waiting for any “pro-KIPP” commenter here to explain why children can not learn lying on the floor (see Montessori schools), or why obedient gaze is essential to learning for every child.”

    It is impossible to prove a negative. What we DO know is that students in KIPP schools learn more than their peers in other schools. (do you need citations for this?)

    Now I ask you, please show me an example of a school that educates students lying on the floor, that educates 98% FRL students & 98% students of color, and achieves the same results as KIPP.

  55. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    Edconsumer:

    Yes, Duncan is now headed in the direction of Obama, Ira, TFT and me. We should be seeing some real change now, and not just a bunch of nonsense. Fortunately, we all agree that we need strong teachers in the classroom and common sense should tell us that can’t be accomplished by bashing the teachers we have. Higher salaries, better working conditions and professional autonomy ought to attract the kind of people we all want.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a change in the leadership, or an attitude adjustment (have I noticed one already?), in the department of education. After all, the elections are coming.

    In regard to KIPP, I will say this: All parents should have a choice in schools for their children; so if parents like KIPP schools, they should have them. However, we know that separate schools are inherently unequal and so we should continue to strive for a society where all our citizens have the opportunity to live in multicultural communities and send their children to schools with students of many colors, creeds and socioeconomic backgrounds. Yes, it’s pie-in-the sky but we can still hold on to our democratic ideals.

    As a teacher, when confronted with a dilemma regarding my students, I would often ask myself, “What would you want for your own children?” The answer would usually be readily available to me.

    To all of you I ask, “Would you send you own child to KIPP?” If your answer is yes, then continue to advocate for more of these schools. If your answer is no, then perhaps you need to think about it before suggesting it for other people’s children. Maybe it’s better than what poor kids have now, but that doesn’t mean we should treat it as an ideal. We can do better.

  56. edconsumer Says:

    Ah Linda – that’s pretty funny.

    You see, Ira and TFT think that Obama and Duncan are bad on education. And in fact there is no evidence that Obama or Duncan are heading anywhere near the ideas that TFT (only fixing poverty can fix the achievement gap) or Ira (we need to stop looking at testing results and just think about helping people be individuals whoever they may be) espouse.

    As a democrat, at some level, I’m not interested in winning an argument over whether Obama “agrees” with these ideas or not, since if you guys will give him your vote, that’s fantastic. And then he can pursue his policy agenda which I. for one, really like.

    In fact, let’s just do a poll and say: who supports President Obama and Secretary Duncan’s education policies? It’s apparently going to be awesome because Chris Smyr and Linda and Edl and Eddie L can all hold hands and agree. Brilliant!

  57. August Says:

    This has been a great discussion and I don’t think either side had really crossed the line into unproductive shouting of the kind I see on some blogs.

    I’d like to approach this issue in a slightly different way. It seems to me that the more elite and more white a school is, the less like a KIPP school it is, (in terms of its pedagogy and approach to discipline). I’m thinking here of schools in the leafiest suburbs or well-endowed private schools. I find that fact troubling (and think it explains the segregation Ryan mentions), if only because it suggests there’s a lot under the surface that doesn’t get discussed about quality schooling. What I’d like to hear is how KIPP supporters explain this difference. Sometimes they seem to be saying that the KIPP approach is simply better and that Sidwell Friends or wherever really would be better off adopting their approach. Other times they seem to suggest that the KIPP experience is something certain students need to pass through to become able to appreciate and benefit from the experience they’d have in one of the leafy suburbs.

    Given that KIPP is going to be receiving 50 million dollars of tax money, I think they’re going to have to say more than “we get slightly better test scores than some other schools.” I think they’re going to have to be more transparent about their views of race, class, and quality schooling.

  58. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    Edconsumer:

    Good for you! You’ve caught on to my trick and have joined in the fun instead of just getting mad like You Know Who.

    I believe that President Obama is moving away from the policies of Duncan and is now coming out strongly in favor of students and teachers. If he doesn’t, he will not get my vote.

  59. Ira Socol Says:

    Pro-KIPP:

    A common mistake is misunderstanding the concept of “cause” when looking at studies.

    So, if we look at schools which (a) choose their students, (b) dispense with 50% of their “non-achieving” students each year, (c) signifiantly increase instructional time, and (d) teach to the test, we would expect to see testing improvements no matter what pedagogy surrounded the experiment. In short, there is zero evidence in any studey which indicates that wearing ties, or marching, or chanting, or staring obediently, has any positive effect on learning.

    If you are interested in proving any of those things, I suggest that you study those factors independently, or with a coherent analysis system.

    But again, we come to the question: Why must students of color learn this way while white students need not? Why do white students dressing as they please and lying on the floor tend to produce the highest test scores, while the “only” way – according to you – to help students of color is boot camp?

    What is it that the children of the powerful are getting, that you will not allow children of color to have? And what is the long term effect of that?

    Michelle Rhee, for example, has made it clear that while creativity is good for Obama’s daughters, it is not at all important for the children in typical DC public schools – or in KIPP academies. And while children in the wealthiest school districts are learning to control their own learning through creative uses of individual technologies (the way both contemporary colleges and all the “best” current jobs require), KIPP students are learning to tie ties and march. Neither of which is much use at Microsoft or Google or FourSquare or even today’s auto companies.

    Linda is right. If you – or even the KIPP Board – thought this was the kind of school you’d most want for your child, then go ahead, advocate away. But my work is focused on offering the best kind of education possible to every child. And I would never have sent a child of mine to a KIPP school, so I’m advocating something different.

  60. Billy Bob Says:

    KIPP backers trot out the line that they serve poor and minority kids, but what they fail to tell you is that the kids have involved parents, can be kicked out of schools, are not special ed or ELL, and are actually average performing when they enter KIPP. They know that most people think poor/minority kids are low-performing, but the data presented in Texas shows that kids entering KIPP schools are average or, at worst, slightly below average. They are not tyhe worst performing kids from the neighborhood schools.

    If KIPPsters think they are hot stuff, then take over the neighborhood school down the street and get the same results. Only then will I be impressed.

  61. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    For Parents:

    Here is a fact about KIPP: No educated professional, whether it’s the president of the United States, a policy wonk, or the local dentist, would send his child to KIPP. You need to ask yourself why.

    I’ve made myself late for an appointment because I think the message I’ve just delivered is an important one.

  62. John Doe Says:

    But are you advocating for more KIPP schools or more local segregated schools like the Rosenwald schools?

    Neither. I’m advocating for fewer leftist dumbasses telling black people that they’re somehow incapable of civilized behavior.

  63. John Doe Says:

    . I’m also waiting for any “pro-KIPP” commenter to explain why the students of the ultra-elites, whether in the Scarsdale Public Schools or St. Ann’s in Brooklyn, get such different educations than KIPP offers.

    Are you really this dumb? It’s obviously because they’re starting at such different places. If one group of students are starting 1st grade having already learned how to read at a third grade level, they’re going to need something different from a group of students who start third grade not knowing the alphabet.

    Or is it simply that KIPP is the best you are willing to do for children of color?

    Yes, it is the best for some kids. And it’s a hell of a lot better than anything you and your friends have ever done.

  64. steve f. Says:

    John Doe,

    Well I certainly never intended or did make a judgement about student discipline in KIPP schools, merely demographics and philanthropic backing. So I’m sorry if that comment is directed at me.

    But, I think you’re probably talking to Ira.

    That said, in your opinion what type of public school systems should we be advocating for?

  65. Pro-KIPP Says:

    Ira your response is as idiotic as the rest of the drivel you have written. Again, I can’t prove a negative. It is interesting that you did not answer my question.

    To Linda and August, I the differences between wealthy and poor children is well documented. This is why both you and I support making high quality early childhood education available for all children.

    The KIPP model is one that hopes to address these differences after the fact, when students are in middle and elementary school. That is not ideal, but it is necessary.

    Before someone starts complaining about how soul sucking these institutions are, I suggest you visit one.

  66. James Says:

    Billy Bob, what data from Texas are you referring to? I hadn’t seen that. Can you provide a link?

  67. Ira Socol Says:

    John Doe:

    I’d buy you’re “anger” a bit more if you weren’t choosing to hide your identity. As for your name-calling, well, entertainingly, it surely suggests that you don’t accept the KIPP strategies for yourself. (Good for you!)

    But what you are saying is wrong on so many levels:

    First you are advocating leaving children of color years behind permanently. You are not interested in them catching up, you accept that they are behind in the race to make themselves “white” – and you accept that they will spend their 13 years of school going slower than the “real whites” they are chasing.

    In my experience Black kids are not less intelligent than white kids, and, just like every white kid in Sweden and Finland, can get to effective reading even if they don’t read at all when they are age seven. It is all a question of how you choose to offer reading to kids.

    Second, you are ignoring – as KIPP academies ignore – all we know about individualizing learning for the individual brain. Mass instruction – the mass instruction you so desperately want – was never a system designed to raise achievement (which is why schools for rich kids don’t use it). It was always a filtering system designed to ensure that kids starting at the bottom would fail and drop out on their way to the coal mines.

    Admittedly, you want these kids dropping out on their way to McDonald’s and Walmart, which is a bit different.

  68. TFT Says:

    So the proposal is, since some kids don’t know as much as others when they start school–we can agree on that–try to pound it into them through KIPP style methods, which have been described already.

    That would be the definition of a band-aid approach, wouldn’t’ it?

    If we want these kids to start school with the same base knowledge as the privileged kids, which is the only conceivable way to close the “achievement gap”, then we should start to think of ways to provide that.

    The only program that has any chance of better preparing young kids for school is a free, high-quality early childhood education. Universal health care would also help, and it would help everyone too.

    To act like KIPP is just an alternate pedagogy that is good for everyone is belied by the facts mentioned already–look at who attends and who doesn’t.

    John Doe, do you really want to ignore the poverty and instead attempt a fix when it will be much harder? We should begin with the youngest kids and give them what they need, then KIPP and other authoritarian/paternalistic methods simply won’t be necessary.

    And your comment about leftist dumbasses claiming black people are incapable of “civilized behavior” pretty much sums up your attitude about black people–that they are uncivilized.

  69. Pro-KIPP Says:

    Again Ira, please provide an example of a school that educates poor kids using the methods you’re espousing.

    I wish we could teach kids with candy and rainbows. But wishing doesn’t make it so.

  70. Pro-KIPP Says:

    “We should begin with the youngest kids and give them what they need, then KIPP and other authoritarian/paternalistic methods simply won’t be necessary.”

    And what about those kids who are 8 – 17? Forget about them? How is KIPP and by extension all high quality urban charter schools preventing you from solving the poverty problem?

  71. urrrgg Says:

    What’s so frustrating about the anti-high performing charter crowd is how illogical their arguments are.

    On the one hand you’ve got billy-bob saying “yeah they teach kids a lot, but that’s because they’re getting kids who aren’t really poor, and aren’t really disadvantaged”

    Then you’ve got TFT saying, “these schools don’t teach kids anything. they don’t work, and only the most disadvantaged kids are stupid enough to go to them”

  72. TFT Says:

    No urrrggg, I never said that. Nor did I say to forget about kids who are now 8 – 17. Never said those things.

    I am saying that KIPP, Aspire, Imagine, HCZ and the rest have sprung into existence due to our ignoring poverty all these years.

    Had we addressed poverty, ever so slightly, by providing universal health care and free, high-quality early childhood education we wouldn’t be in this position.

    I am advocating for things that should have been done 30 years ago. What we are doing now is an irrational reaction to our incompetence as a society and our apparent willingness to let certain people suffer.

    Nobody on my side is advocating throwing older children under the bus. We are advocating the end of throwing children under the bus.

  73. urrrgg Says:

    I am advocating for things that should have been done 30 years ago.

    nuff said

  74. Corey Says:

    Ira and TFT are right.

    After working in a “no excuses” charter, I can tell you that they are racist and troubling institutions. Ask these schools which intellectuals have inspired their policies and they come up empty. Instead, it’s fresh-from-college trainees who drive test-driven curricula into children at the sake of their creativity, thoughtfulness, inquisitiveness, and so much more. Standardized tests are so widely disparaged, and there is significant agreement that they are inadequate indicators of intelligence or student performance, especially when they arrive months after students have taken them and are used to embarrass and haunt students as early as kindergarten. Yet even still, KIPP and its brethren get to grow. All they can do is standardized tests. Just wait ’til they get to college and don’t see a bubble sheet. They’re paralyzed. Standardized tests are KIPP’s game — for an extended day, an extended year. If I taught my students basketball for eight hours a day, 200 days a year, y’all would better start planning for more LeBron-esque selection shows. But when you’ll ask them to do something that’s not basketball, they won’t know how. That’s why I try to teach my students to be well-rounded; I don’t care to see any more automatons in this world: they’re likely to accept — insist on — a substandard education for certain populations of kids, sentencing them to lives bereft of any critical thought or constructive democratic participation.

  75. urrrgg Says:

    Actually it works better like this:

    “I am advocating for things that should have been done 30 years ago.” – TFT

    nuff’ said

  76. TFT Says:

    What is your point, urrrgg?

  77. Ira Socol Says:

    Pro-KIPP,

    I can show you schools doing this all over the United States. But I’ll pick out 1. In the Mona Shores Schools in west Michigan there’s an elementary that routinely leads the entire region in test scores. Yes, it is a diverse student population, but 40% of the students are from the lowest SES in an impoverished county.

    The school works because it IS integrated. It works because it offers internal choices – there are three programs inside… traditional age-based grades, two-grade classrooms, and a 1-5 multiage classroom which lets kids move as they need to. There are loads of behavior expectations, including dress expectations, but no uniforms, no marching, no expectation that all students are gazing at the teacher. In fact, the freedoms are quite remarkable. As is the well-paid, unionized teaching staff.

    The fact is that the segregation you are defending is a crucial part of the problem, and where schools have creatively created districting, they can – and do – build school communities which work across these boundaries you so want to enforce.

    And, just as a note, I just had lunch with a Supt of a district that is just as you describe. Urban, 99% children of color, 99% FRL. Their results far exceed those of KIPP academies with a style of education far different from KIPP, an individual-student-based learning structure which maximizes freedom and opportunity.

    Like KIPP execs, you only want KIPP compared to the worst schools in America. I want all schools compared to the best.

  78. urrrgg Says:

    my point is that your contribution to this conversation is useless. You come in here on your high hours and disparage people doing good work for actual children in the here and now. And for what? So you can bitch and moan about a bunch of stuff that should have happened a long time ago.

    You can’t change the past. And with your attitude (“the white supremacist’s dream”) it doesn’t look like you’re in much of a position to change the future.

    What are you doing to actually improve the lives of children?

  79. urrrgg Says:

    horse*

    obviously i need to get of my high horse also.

  80. John Doe Says:

    And your comment about leftist dumbasses claiming black people are incapable of “civilized behavior” pretty much sums up your attitude about black people–that they are uncivilized.

    No, I think black people are as capable as anyone else of being “well dressed” and “well behaved.” You’re the one who disagrees.

    First you are advocating leaving children of color years behind permanently. You are not interested in them catching up,

    What a liar. You’re the one who wants minority kids to be left behind, never knowing how to read, because it offends you for some reason to see people doing hard work. I’m the one who thinks that in inner cities, where minorities are lucky to graduate from high school at all and many of the ones who do are still functionally illiterate, kids will be better off if they learn how to read, even if that takes a lot of work to make up for all the deficits created by everything else about their lives.

    Yes, African leaders who choose to wear African garb, Ghandi tossing out his British suits and wearing Indian dress, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney rejecting English grammar for Irish grammar, these people are all “wrong” in your book because you seem to perceive wearing a tie and obediently staring at your master to be the most evolved form of human interactions.

    Sorry dude, but we don’t live in a society (and never will) where guys who dress like they just got out of prison (see http://billstones.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/baggy-pants.jpg ) are going to be treated with respect by the rest of society. Kids in neighborhoods like that will be overwhelmingly better off without any patronizing nonsense about how the rest of society should want to be around ex-prisoners, but instead if they’re in a school where they learn to dress more like what mainstream society expects.

    This is a universal truth here, not something peculiar to our culture.
    If kids are in an Asian country where mainstream society wore sarongs and prisoners wore something very identifiable, they would be better off learning to wear sarongs.

  81. John Doe Says:

    Had we addressed poverty, ever so slightly, by providing universal health care and free, high-quality early childhood education we wouldn’t be in this position.

    There’s zero evidence for what you say here. Healthcare, nice as it is, doesn’t teach kids how to read, and there’s never been a “free” and “high-quality” system of Pre-K provided on any widespread basis (the few promising studies on Pre-K involved tiny programs).

  82. TFT Says:

    Well, urrrgg, I teach kids in a traditional, Title I public school. I fight for policies that will make society more fair. I fight the district when they want me to things that don’t help kids.

    What are you doing to actually improve the lives of children?

    Going on blogs and calling people names and attributing to them things they didn’t say or advocate isn’t really helping.

    And you are right that one can’t change the past. However, one can address it.

  83. urrrgg Says:

    for context: “If they want their kid to be in a “good” school, they must leave their poverty, even just for a few hours a day so they can enter the KIPP warehouse–and get whitened. It’s a white supremacist’s dream.”

  84. TFT Says:

    John Doe, the Headstart program got results. We also know, based on research, that the biggest problem for the lowest achieving kids is their lack of exposure to vocabulary, experiences and medical/dental care.

    I did not say that medical care teaches kids to read. What good health does do is allow children to be more receptive to learning because they don’t have to focus on hunger pangs, toothaches, or psychiatric issues.

    We as a society have chosen what we value, and it is made clear by how much we pay people. We seem value CEOs very much. We also seem to value celebrities and sports stars. We don’t value those who cleanup your bedpan, or those who change your elderly mother’s diapers, or the ones who teach your children.

  85. TFT Says:

    urrrgg, what is your point?

  86. urrrgg Says:

    it was unfair of me to use your knowledge of the content of a white supremacist’s dream, without putting it in context.

  87. John Doe Says:

    ohn Doe, the Headstart program got results.

    Not academically it doesn’t. See http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/reports/impact_study/executive_summary_final.pdf

  88. thenofunzone Says:

    one big elephant in the room that the anti-KIPP folks seem to ignore is that KIPP schools are all schools of choice. HCZ, KIPP, ASPIRE… these places have waiting lists folks, that means people want to attend them. you can say, “oh they only want to attend them because their are no better choices,” but the bottom line is that the parents still want their kids out of the traditional neighborhood public schools and into the charters. cities like new orleans, detroit, dc, and nyc all have seen the enrollment in traditional districts plummet and parents SELECTING charters. charters would have even more students if states didn’t have caps on them. i just love how its all “brainwashing” that these there dumb black folk are choosing dem charters from the white massa because they really really don’t wanna be der. Give me a break – the parents are voting with their feet and they don’t want to be in traditional public schools. They care much more about their kids getting the test scores they need to get out of the ghetto and into a college and I assure you they don’t have time to read post-colonialist literature about how its really all a conspiracy to whiten them. They just want their kids to get a good job and a better life. Again, why don’t we ask them what they want.

    I leave with this thought: 99 percent of every comment left in this now 80 comment thread was probably left by a white person – not a person of color. So let’s stop sitting around and speaking for African Americans and Latinos and let’s start looking at what they tell us in survey after survey they want:

    1) schools that get their kids higher on state tests
    2) schools that help get their kids into college
    3) the opportunity to exit the public system if their neighborhood school are bad
    4) merit pay for teachers

    You can all claim they have been brainwashed and bamboozled and that KIPP is just a band-aid solution, but in the real world we don’t have time for the perfect solution – we only have time to get kids who are on their way to being a statistic into college. Who cares if they have to stand on their head and learn rote stuff, I damn well guarantee you their parents don’t care what they have to do to escape the ghetto. So fine, sit by and blog on about the War on Poverty and go read your odes to Lyndon Johnson the reality is the best hope kids in Detroit and DC have today who live in neighborhoods with ineffective neighborhood schools is to hope beyond hope they win a lottery to attend a KIPP-like school. And why do we have lotteries? Because the STATE, our DEAR LEADERs, say we have to cap parental demand for more of these places.

    You all are like the Soviet Union – telling us that their is a better way, a Utopia out their in solving poverty and using traditional public education to get the job done. So everyone should just stay inside their neighborhood schools, join ACORN, and advocate against charters because “it will get better.” So go ahead advocate for changes that should have been made 30 years ago and while your at it I will drive a yugo instead of a subsidized Volvo because after all this country should have invested in high speed rail and my Volvo just keeps us from doing that.

  89. mark Says:

    I was with you until the soviet union stuff.

  90. TFT Says:

    Is universal healthcare a bad idea?

    Is free, high-quality early childhood education a bad idea?

    These are good ideas that some seem to have decided are too old, or too hard, or too Utopian.

    It’s no wonder we are where we are.

  91. Ira Socol Says:

    Again, as my last comment here, there are hundreds of schools doing better than KIPP Academies with the same population issues, but treating kids as equal members of this society.

    KIPP schools have waiting lists because they are typically in places with horrendous public schools – like Chicago after the nightmare of Vallas/Duncan, or Houston.

    If white people can’t comment, that sure leaves KIPP out of the conversation, since there are few “whiter” organizations, in management and origin, than the Ivy League KIPP/TFA combine.

    As someone who sees schools continuously. All kinds of schools. Public, Charters, Private, Religious, Urban, Rural, suburban, poor, rich, American, European, I tend to see far fewer differences between children than many commenting here, and much greater differences in adult attitudes and adult support.

    So I’ll just remind you, that I’ll be convinced as soon as a KIPP Academy opens in Palo Alto, Scarsdale, River Forest, etc, and the power elite show their real interest in this form of education by choosing to send their children there.

    Until then, advocacy of separate and unequal leaves me cold.

  92. thenofunzone Says:

    “So I’ll just remind you, that I’ll be convinced as soon as a KIPP Academy opens in Palo Alto, Scarsdale, River Forest, etc, and the power elite show their real interest in this form of education by choosing to send their children there.”

    Who cares about Palo Alto, Ira? Is their a crisis in Palo Alto when it comes to getting kids into college? Does Palo Alto have a 20 percent high school graduation rate? Is the achievement gap in Palo Also rival New Haven, DC, and Detroit?

    The fact is let’s sit back and watch as these early cohorts of KIPPsters leave KIPP and go on to college. Let’s follow up and do EXPERIMENTAL research comparing those who won lotteries to those who didn’t and circle the wagons in 10 years and look at earnings of those treated versus those left back in a district school who lost a lottery. The early signs point to the fact that these very poor urban youngsters are headed toward success in college and career as a result of the way HCZ goes about educating kids… same for KIPP. No one says KIPP is the perfect model. I’m not saying there aren’t other models, but the results are what we should care about and their kids are doing well – the experimental studies show this. Roland Fryer, an African American economist at Harvard – tenured at 35, has done research in the American Economic Review and elsewhere showing that HCZ’s schools, not the additional things the zone does for kids, is closing the achievement gap there. Is he a racist? An enabler? A hack academic – his credentials would suggest otherwise.

  93. TFT Says:

    I think this is fruitless. I have no idea who are speaking from experience and who are not, and it makes a difference.

    Let’s stipulate that some people think KIPP and the rest are great places for kids.

    How then do we address the “need” for KIPP-style schools? KIPP and the like seem to be symptom suppressors–failing schools are a symptom of a larger problem. Or maybe you folks disagree with that? Are you guys saying KIPP is a superior pedagogy, or simply a needed alternative for the academically unsuccessful?

    Either way, it doesn’t address the core problem of how some populations got into the situation they are in. Is it their fault? Is it only their responsibility, or do we all share it?

  94. Ira Socol Says:

    TheNoFunZone:

    Why massively scale up this perhaps imperfect, not yet proven model? Yes, demonstrate real research on KIPP (I’m not challenging HCZ here, a different model) and we can talk. Meanwhile, use INNOVATION funds to try to do better.

  95. John Doe Says:

    Again, as my last comment here, there are hundreds of schools doing better than KIPP Academies with the same population issues, but treating kids as equal members of this society

    Baloney. Multiple scholarly studies show that KIPP produces superior results when their kids are compared to kids that applied to KIPP but didn’t win the lottery.

    So I’ll just remind you, that I’ll be convinced as soon as a KIPP Academy opens in Palo Alto, Scarsdale, River Forest, etc, and the power elite show their real interest in this form of education by choosing to send their children there

    This is an inane comment. The average black kid in America is 4 years behind the average white kid. And if you compared the average black kid from inner-city neighborhoods where KIPP locates to the average white kids in super-rich enclaves, it would be a lot more than 4 years behind.

    So what you’re saying is just as stupid as complaining that kindergarten is conducted differently from 10th grade, and saying that you’ll never support kindergarten for 5-year-olds until you see people sending their 10th graders to kindergarten. We

  96. thenofunzone Says:

    Well maybe we are talking past each here a bit. I’m not saying we should scale up KIPP only? I’m just saying let’s not put artificial caps on KIPP growth or HCZ growth or any high performing charter. As long as the school is hitting their target growth rates, graduating students, and meeting whatever democratically accountable benchmarks the school district has established let parents have options. I’m not even saying I would send my kid to KIPP, I’m just saying that they serve a niche market and are getting better results as demonstrated through experimental studies (lottery vs. non-lottery winners) than their peer schools? I will say I am firmly skeptical about the issue of KIPP kicking out kids who are not compliant, but until there is third-party evidence that this practice is widespread within KIPP and that it negates their results I am not going to say the research is trash. If it proves KIPP is making gains for these kids only because they are throwing out 50 percent of those who come to the school for petty infractions, I will be standing right next to you protesting them as frauds.

    I’m an empiricist – I will gladly shat on anyone or any institution that is committing fraud and lying about it. I have no ideological concerns here – I just want to see college and career ready graduates no matter how its done (single sex schools, less diverse schools, singing hymns hand-in-hand, E.D. Hirsch style cultural literacy, Hooked on Phonics – it don’t matter to me) show me the outputs in controlled experimental studies and I will support what works.

  97. GGW Says:

    Whew! What a string of comments.

    Question originally posed: “Would KIPP’s methods work in integrated schools?”

    I think

    1. Yes, if combined with school choice.

    2. No, if imposed on existing suburban schools where people are largely satisfied, even if performance is uneven.

    *

    That is, let’s say you opened a regional KIPP charter school serving 20 suburbs west of Boston, which are largely white, largely middle and upper class.

    I’d think hundreds of parents who knew about it would choose it in the first year, and it would grow from there.

    Also, I predict this will actually happen in the coming years. No Excuses style regional charters in the suburbs.

  98. TFT Says:

    We are putting artificial confidence in KIPP’s ability to do what they claim.

    Surely al here are aware of the rampant corruption found in many charter schools. They kick out kids to inflate the grad rate and all the rest.

    RTTT, NCLB, EASA, all these put hope (read: false confidence) in charters’ ability to “close the achievement gap.” The gap isn’t closing by offering an alternative for the few who choose it and the even fewer who get in.

    So…

    I think Ira and are are suggesting we address the gap’s cause–poverty and growing disparity. Working from this, we might be prompted to offer better, hopefully free (as in single payer) health care, especially pre-natal care, a more progressive tax system, less war, and all that other lefty crap that would make for a more fair society.

  99. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    I have to agree with “thenofunzone,” even though I am personally repelled by KIPP schools. The fact is that these schools seem to be sought after by many parents and that is reason enough to support them. Also, they probably serve the same purpose that Catholic schools serve for many whites who are dissatisfied with their local public schools. These parochial schools are far from perfect, but they provide an inexpensive alternative for parents who desire an immediate change for their children.

    Several years ago I had the opportunity to ask about an African American principal at a high-scoring urban school similar to KIPP. Most of the students were African American and poor. The principal’s son was a brilliant young man who was at Harvard. When asked if she’d send her own son to her school, the woman said something to the effect, “No, because my son has had opportunities these children have not had. He doesn’t need the structure and the practice that these students need. We are giving these youngsters the basic skills that they need to succeed. This is the best we can do for them.” I’ve noticed that other black educators have made similar statements. It must be extremely annoying for black parents and teachers to be told by Whitey how to educate their own (black) children, a point well made by Lisa Delpit in her book “Other People’s Children.”

    Many of us would never send our children to a school such as Summerhill, and yet we respect the right of parents to choose such a school for their children. It’s the same with KIPP, but we can still express the hope that these students (or maybe their children) might move to the leafy suburbs and attend some of those wonderful integrated schools populated by privileged American children . Such schools already exist in some parts of the country that are very multicultural, such as Southern California.

    Yes, some of us are impractical idealists, but where would society be without such people?

  100. thenofunzone Says:

    “Surely al here are aware of the rampant corruption found in many charter schools. They kick out kids to inflate the grad rate and all the rest.”

    TFT: this is a claim. I am looking for third-party, prefer peer-reviewed or government agency evidence that:

    1. Corruption is widespread in the charter world – more so than public
    2. Corruption in the form of inflated test scores is widespread
    3. Detailed evidence of the percentage of kids “kicked out” after they have been taken by KIPP, HCZ, or whatever charter is in question.

    You can’t just smell smoke and then say there is the Chicago Fire. Show us the evidence, back up that big boy claim with some RAND Institute-like data.

  101. TFT Says:

    http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&source=hp&q=charter+school+corruption&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=CZ_inoy1jTMi4I4vK6QOcudWqCAAAAKoEBU_QgGTA&pbx=1&fp=da565cc73f0e213a

    It’s that easy!

  102. TFT Says:

    http://goo.gl/sELb

    Sorry, forgot to shorten.

  103. thenofunzone Says:

    I see your 192,000 “google hits” and raise you to 197,000 using the following google search: “Clinton Body Count”

    http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en#hl=en&q=bill+clinton+body+count&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=4bf2bf0ba3c7bd72

    Lesson for TFT: number of google hits does not veracity equal

    Go log onto JSTOR and find some peer reviewed journals or even 50 stories in the New York Times (a less rigorous vetting process than peer review) that provide evidence of points 1-3 that you claimed were so widespread. A google search… you’re a joke. Here’s a tip never apply for tenure based on your research prowess…well maybe at an ed school…. hahah

  104. TFT Says:

    I was simply giving you a road map. I was not claiming that a high number of search results means anything. You should have read some of the links.

    There are many lawsuits. These are not written about in education journals, they are written about in the newspaper, on blogs and discussed by respected professionals, lawyers, defendants and judges.

    There is corruption everywhere! How does that impact charter school corruption? Are you saying we need to accept it?

    You are asking for qualified proof–you demand proof that the corruption is widespread. The fact that corruption exists in charters you don’t deny? You are saying it is not widespread enough to worry about?

    There is documented corruption. Deny it if you want to. But don’t deny it by claiming it exists in public* schools too, and in charters it’s not yet widespread.

    * charters are public schools, supposedly

  105. thenofunzone Says:

    I didn’t make any claim, TFT. You did. You claimed that charter school corruption is enabling charter schools to show impressive academic outcomes that are built on a house of cards – the house of cards you argued is maintained by corruption.

    Let me remind you of what you said: “They kick out kids to inflate the grad rate and all the rest.”

    Again I don’t think its unfair to ask you for evidence that this practice is widespread. I’m not denying that lawsuits have been filed (this is America after all we file suit over spilled coffee). I’m not denying that there have been instances of charter schools cooking the books on tests, just as there have been instances of public school teachers in traditional district schools cheating on assessments to meet AYP (that has actually been documented by Steve Levitt a Chicago Economist).

    But I am not willing to take on faith or a little soaking and poking on Google that widespread corruption is covering up impressive results at charter schools across the United States. That’s what you insinuated in your post. Surely you didn’t strain your fingers to argue that a charter or two out there amongst the thousands of charters in the U.S. have corruptly fabricated their test data and kicked out half the class. Your claim was based on saying this is widespread and rampant and is what allows charters to perpetuate a myth of closing the achievement gap.

    So back up that claim with data. You talk a big game, but you bring so little to back up your bravado.

  106. TFT Says:

    The charters that claimed 100% graduation rates, the ones that get all the press, like KIPP, Aspire, G. Canada’s schools, have ALL kicked out low performers to artificially raise the grad rate.

    Since the general public hear about these schools more than say, my little public school, think 100% grad rate is true, coloring their perceptions of charters in general.

    The studies that have been done with charters show some are better and some are worse and still others no different than traditional public schools.

    So the voting public are being misled. They are being told that charters, whcih by the way, are what states must accept if they want any federal education money, are going to close the achievement gap. We know they won’t because they don’t address any root causes of the gap. Impoverished communities are like a bridge that is falling apart–you can put in some new steel, but eventually the thing has to be changed with a new model.

  107. thenofunzone Says:

    And neighborhood schools that have 20 percent graduation rates have kicked kids out too, I’m sure. Do I know how many? Would I claim that it was done to boost the graduation rate from 18 to 20 percent? No, because I don’t have any evidence on that.

    I don’t disagree with you that the data should be public. I want to see cohort data from KIPP schools… but jeez we can’t even get all of the governors to actually follow through with the graduation rate compact to make sure that graduation rates states report are based on the full freshman year cohort.

    I’m simply saying you don’t have the data – and neither do I (though I’m making no broad assertions) – that KIPP kicks out a significant number of students that begin with them for the purposes of hitting 100 percent graduation rates.

    You wrote that studies show some charters are better and some worse. Yes, I agree that is true. I never said anything about charter schools being a panacea – Indeed some are high-performing and some are low-performing. They should be judged on a case by case or model by model basis, but I can assure you that one thing that happens to charter schools that never – or save the rare state intervention – happens to traditional public schools. Charters stand to lose their charter if they don’t meet expectations and maintain interest in enrollment.

    When neighborhood public schools lose students and perform poorly I don’t see their funds cut. So in that sense charters are more accountable than public schools.

  108. TFT Says:

    Here funzone: http://goo.gl/rtU7

    Urban Prep claimed 100% grad rate, but kicked kids out to attain it.

  109. TFT Says:

    I agree we should judge them case by case. But we are funding them and making states change their laws to accommodate them like they the ultimate solution.

    Which is it, case by case, or buy into them as saviors to be funded at the expense of other programs? Because that seems to be the choice.

  110. eddie v halen Says:

    I heard about your lessons, but lessons are so cold.
    I know about this school.
    Little girl from cherry lane, how did you get so bold ?
    How did you know that golden rule ?

    I think of all the education that I missed.
    But then my homework was never quite like this.

    Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad,
    I’m hot for teacher.
    I got it bad, so bad,
    I’m hot for teacher.

    Chris S. is a two-eyed cyclops (I shoulda left my phone at home,
    ’cause this is a disaster!
    Callin’ like a collector -
    Sorry, I cannot answer!)

  111. TFT Says:

    The Civil Rights Project, UCLA, January 2009
    Title: “Reviving the Goal of an Integrated Society: A 21st Century Challenge”
    Author: Gary Orfield

    Student Researchers: Melissa Robinson and Rena Hawkins
    Faculty Evaluator: Sangeeta Sinha, PhD
    Southwest Minnesota State University

    Schools in the United States are more segregated today than they have been in more than four decades. Millions of non-white students are locked into “dropout factory” high schools, where huge percentages do not graduate, and few are well prepared for college or a future in the US economy.

    According to a new Civil Rights report published at the University of California, Los Angeles, schools in the US are 44 percent non-white, and minorities are rapidly emerging as the majority of public school students in the US. Latinos and blacks, the two largest minority groups, attend schools more segregated today than during the civil rights movement forty years ago. In Latino and African American populations, two of every five students attend intensely segregated schools. For Latinos this increase in segregation reflects growing residential segregation. For blacks a significant part of the reversal reflects the ending of desegregation plans in public schools throughout the nation. In the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the US Supreme Court concluded that the Southern standard of “separate but equal” was “inherently unequal,” and did “irreversible” harm to black students. It later extended that ruling to Latinos.

    The Civil Rights Study shows that most severe segregation in public schools is in the Western states, including California—not in the South, as many people believe. Unequal education leads to diminished access to college and future jobs. Most non-white schools are segregated by poverty as well as race. Most of the nation’s dropouts occur in non-white public schools, leading to large numbers of virtually unemployable young people of color.

    Schools in low-income communities remain highly unequal in terms of funding, qualified teachers, and curriculum. The report indicates that schools with high levels of poverty have weaker staffs, fewer high-achieving peers, health and nutrition problems, residential instability, single-parent households, high exposure to crime and gangs, and many other conditions that strongly affect student performance levels. Low-income campuses are more likely to be ignored by college and job market recruiters. The impact of funding cuts in welfare and social programs since the 1990s was partially masked by the economic boom that suddenly ended in the fall of 2008. As a consequence, conditions are likely to get even worse in the immediate future.

    In California and Texas segregation is spreading into large sections of suburbia as well. This is the social effect of years of neglect to civil rights policies that stressed equal educational opportunity for all. In California, the nation’s most multiracial state, half of blacks and Asians attend segregated schools, as do one quarter of Latino and Native American students. While many cities came under desegregation court orders during the civil rights era, most suburbs, because they had few minority students at that time, did not. When minority families began to move to the suburbs in large numbers, there was no plan in place to attain or maintain desegregation, appropriately train teachers and staff, or recruit non-white teachers to help deal with new groups of students. Eighty-five percent of the nation’s teachers are white, and little progress is being made toward diversifying the nation’s teaching force.

    In states that now have a substantial majority of non-white students, failure to provide quality education to that majority through high school and college is a direct threat to the economic and social future of the general population. In a world economy, success is linked to formal education. Major sections of the US face the threat of declining education levels as the proportion of children attending inferior segregated schools continues to increase.

    Rural schools also face severe segregation. In the days of civil rights struggles, small towns and rural areas were seen as the heart of the most intense racism. Of 8.3 million rural white students, 73 percent attend schools that are 80 to100 percent white.

    Our nation’s segregated schools result from decades of systematic neglect of civil rights policy and related educational and community reforms.

    According to the UCLA report, what is needed are leaders who recognize that we have a common destiny in an America where our children grow up together, knowing and respecting each other, and are all given the educational tools that prepare them for success in our society. The author maintains that if we are to continue along a path of deepening separation and entrenched inequality it will only diminish our common potential.

  112. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    TFT:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s a good reminder that we still have a very long way to go, and may indeed be going backward, not forward.

  113. Chris Smyr Says:

    Ira Socol:

    1) Why does “sit up straight, listen, ask and answer questions, nod your head, track the speaker” suggest “white” indoctrination? Give a more explicit, direct answer than “it’s just like the gaze.”

    2) “Why can’t a learner recline and look out the window while learning?”

    Because any teacher will tell you that students who are focused during direct instruction will be more able to follow directions and will retain more material from instruction. Citations can be provided if you absolutely must have them to understand this simple point.

    3) “Why can’t communities learn in group conversation rather than listening to a “master”?”

    THEY DO. You have this ass-backwards idea that KIPP is basically a daily 8-hour lecture. Such ideas can be easily dispelled if you were to actually visit a KIPP classroom.

    4) “As for the purpose, well, why don’t the kids in KIPP schools get the same things that the kids in Scarsdale and River Forest get? Why don’t they get the creative education needed for the best jobs in this century? Is it because they are “genetically inferior”? Or because we won’t spend the time and money to get the best teachers? Or because we’re training them – as the British Empire did – to be “lesser whites” who will be “ok” but not challenge the children of the elite for the best jobs?”

    So many false premises and non sequiturs, so little time….

    5) “Chris still wants “substantiation” but he is replacing (as Tom notes) the kind of academic work which should lie behind this discourse with “five minutes on Google” (and not, it should be noted, Google Scholar, where actual substantiation might lie).”

    I wanted you (and others) to justify the claim that KIPP is promoting whiteness, because there is an unstated assumption being made there of what it means to be white and non-white. You STILL haven’t explicitly done this.

    You’re also making the same mistake that Tom made. TFT had claimed he’s never, ever heard of teachers who have students practice tracking teachers during instruction. Providing a few simple Google search results immediately dispels that incorrect notion. It matters not that I used Google to find the evidence.

    BTW, no academic I have ever worked with would be so full of him or herself as to dismiss references because they were found with Google rather than Google Scholar (scholarly work can easily be found on either, if you didn’t know).

    6) “Chris, you can not challenge what TFT and I are saying without understanding the theories behind our statements”

    Ah, yes. Let’s read through a Sobe publication on gaze and attention and see what can be reasonably compared to KIPP (if anything):

    “Montessori encapsulated her method in the declaration “When you have solved the problem of controlling the attention of the child, you have solved the entire problem of education.””

    I would like evidence showing that KIPP believes anything close to this.

    “In The Montessori Method she summarized Seguin’s method as “to lead the child, as it were, by the hand, from the education of the muscular system, to that of the nervous system, and of the senses.” Montessori’s pedagogy of attention similarly led children by the hand through this progression, and like Seguin she also worked initially with “defective” children.”

    Keeping your eyes on the teacher during direct instruction does not imply that the students are being led by the wrist to an education. That students will more likely gain understanding if they keep their focus on the speaker does not imply that the speaker is the one creating the understanding for the students. The “defective children” terminology is also a revealing one. Am I right to assume you also think KIPP feels this way about their students? You are the one that needs to establish all of these connections.

    “For example, her opposition to the use of creative play in kindergartens (a position that was strongly criticized by many American educators, including William Kilpatrick and Elizabeth Harrison) was based on the argument that the state of the imagination was the natural state of the savage and that dwelling in it would hold back the child in a “prehistoric,”“primitive” period. A distracted attention, in Montessori’s pedagogy, dissipated the possibility for progress — only through attention and the refinement of the child’s discriminating powers could progress be ensured.”

    Again, you’ve not justified a similar link between KIPP and creativity. KIPP schools and their teachers utilize instructional strategies that will tap into the unending creativity in their students. That their students have to sit up and pay attention doesn’t somehow stifle their creativity.

    “In Foucault’s arguments about the gaze, individuals come to internalize the norms of disciplinary power, thus making the functioning of the panoptic mechanism continuously effective. Both cases, then, engender what Foucault called governmentality, the arrangement whereby the reasoning individuals use in their own decision making is tightly bound up with the rationales used in the administration of society.”

    Lots of problems here. Panopticism would imply that students are to pay attention only for the sake of disciplinary power, or to forfeit their reasoning to be subjected to directed attention. Paying attention in a classroom does much, MUCH more for the student than just making a teacher’s life easier. Not only that, but paying attention itself is *NOT* the goal of KIPP; tracking the teacher is the means by which they are to be exposed to higher learning, and to the utilization of rational thought. One wonders if you missed the “ask and answer questions” part of SLANT when you were thinking of what to write.

    8) “I’m a post-modernist, and I do not believe that everyone must accept the same sense of reality”

    *headdesk*

  114. Chris Smyr Says:

    and lol at the “8_)” emoticon; that should be “7)”

  115. GGW Says:

    I’m not sure I understand the specific nature of the “kicked out” claim.

    Two scenarios could apply to any particular school.

    1. School X is hard. Kid does poorly. Flunks grade or on track to do so. Teachers and principal encourage him to work hard and stay, even if it means repeating.

    Kid chooses to transfer to School Y to obtain: automatic promotion to next grade, little homework, early dismissal, lax rules, etc.

    Teachers and principal could entice him to stay by lowering the bar, but that’s it. Is that “kicked out?”

    2. Same scenario, except school principal and teachers say “We want you to leave the school.”

    We’d all agree that #2 would be “kick out.”

    It seems like TNT is claiming either

    a) That Scenario 1 also should be defined as “kick out”

    b) He has some evidence base to distinguish how frequently 1 versus 2 happens.

  116. Ira Socol Says:

    http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/129433.html

  117. Chris Smyr Says:

    “Instead of counterarguments, here’s this link to a book I found”

  118. Attorney DC Says:

    TFT: While I appreciate your (valid) concern for the difficulties facing low-income minority students in the U.S. today, I have to take issue with your assumption that integration (socioeconomic and ethnic) will help these students in any significant degree. To my knowledge, studies show that low-income and/or minority students often continue to perform poorly even when taught in the same schools as higher SES, white and Asian students. A local example that springs to mind is TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA. TC is a large school with an extremely diverse student population, both socioeconomically and ethnically. A new, multimillion dollar school building was constructed recently and the school regularly produces many top-notch scholars (often white and Asian). The African-American and Hispanic students at the school generally continue to perform poorly.

    I have to ask: Why do you think increased socioeconomic and ethinic integration will have a significant impact on the academic achievement of low-performing students?

  119. TFT Says:

    Attorney, I didn’t say anything about integration. I posted the UCLA paper because it illustrates how we as Americans are failing our most vulnerable.

    I think improving the circumstances of the impoverished will have a significant impact on those kids, and society at large.

    Charters have some culpability in the re-segregation. We should consider Pat Moynihan.

  120. TFT Says:

    Chris sure asks a lot of questions for a guy who knows everything!

  121. Linda/RetiredTeacher Says:

    Atttorney DC and Others:

    What you say about research is probably correct, at least so far as I know.

    Does anyone know if any longitudinal studies have been done on minority students who attended integrated schools for long periods of time? Did students who went through twelve years of school in an integrated, middle-class setting do better as adults, in terms of jobs and other indications of adult well-being? I find it hard to believe that being in a middle-class, integrated setting, as opposed to a low-scoring, segregated school, would have no positive effect on the child. When I moved from a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn into a middle-class neighborhood in suburban New Jersey, I think it had an enormous effect on my attitudes toward learning. Suddenly I was surrounded by students and parents who placed a premium on education. It also gave me a glimpse into the many occupations that were available to me. Did it improve my test scores? I have no idea. Did it improve my life chances? I think so, yes.

    Because I’ve long been interested in this subject, I’ve read many biographies of successful people of color. Almost without exception, the parents or guardians of these individuals found “better” (i.e. integrated) schools for them in the suburbs or in distant cities and towns (child was sent to live with friends or relatives).

    Many people, myself included, view research in education and the social sciences as very iffy, so we probably shouldn’t make major decisions based on some of these questionable conclusions. In regard to the effects of integration on education, I think we can assume that it’s in everyone’s best interest to go for the ideal of educating all our citizens, no matter the color or creed, in common schools.

    The bottom line: If you have a child of color (naturally or through adoption) would you want to be told that he or she could only go to a school with children of the same race or ethnicity? I know I wouldn’t.

  122. Attorney DC Says:

    Linda, you make interesting points (as always a pleasure to read). Studies I’ve read seem to show that low-income, minority students gain some advantage from attending school with middle class students, but only if the low-income minority students make up a small percentage of the school population. This appears to be because once “too many” low-income, minority students attend a school, the school culture tips away from the culture you mentioned (in the middle class school you attended in New Jersey) and toward the culture of the low-income, minority schools! I believe (and this is from studies I read several years ago, so forgive me if my data is slightly off) that the critical point is about 25%.

    However, I don’t believe the advantage is very significant, in any event. In part due to tracking and other reasons, low-income minority students often do not attend class with the middle class kids, even in the same school. However, I’d be reluctant to abolish tracking, because then you simply set the low-performing kids up for feeling dumb in every class, and the high-performing kids get bored. It’s a complicated problem. In my opinion, schools can only do so much to overcome the effects of the child’s family and peers. Kids raised by well-educated parents, in a culture that values education (such as even lower income Asian students) tend to succeed in school. Kids from disadvantaged backgrounds often do poorly.

    I’d prefer to attack it from the other direction: How can we get low-income minority teens and adults to embrace academic success for their own children, and to avoid ending up in poverty themselves? Personally, I believe that targeting the high teenage birthrate in minority communites would be a great first step. Of course, now you’re getting into social engineering, an opening up a whole new can of worms!

  123. Attorney DC Says:

    Linda (and others): You might also enjoy reading John McWhorter’s writings on educational achievement in the African-American community. I recommend his books Losing the Race (2000) and Winning the Race (2006). McWhorter is an African-American professor of linguistics, who has branched out to write about issues in the modern day American American community. I enjoyed both these books, especially Losing the Race, because they offered a unique perspective into the problem of low achieving African-American students in America.

  124. Art Says:

    # TFT Says:
    August 12th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Chris sure asks a lot of questions for a guy who knows everything!
    ___________________________
    Socrates asked a lot of questions too, so look for something else to hold against Chris.

  125. TFT Says:

    Fair enough, Art.

    Was Socrates a pedant too?

  126. mark Says:

    A teacher who doesn’t like questions. No wonder you’re so frustrated!

  127. John Doe Says:

    It’s no wonder she is frustrated — she expressly doesn’t like for students to be “well dressed, well behaved, quiet.”

    One would think that a reasonably intelligent teacher would eventually figure out that letting kids be lazy, sloppy, rowdy, and noisy doesn’t actually help them learn more, and it just makes the teacher . . . frustrated.

  128. Chris Smyr Says:

    I think I figured out the typical argument flowchart that certain commenters are using:

    1) Inflammatory claims that are poorly supported
    2) Smoke and mirrors, irrelevant “support” for initial claims
    3) Call into question the others’ background or expertise
    4) “Here’s an irrelevant link you should look at…”
    5) *Evacuate thread*
    6) Start at step 1 somewhere else

  129. TFT Says:

    I didn’t say that John. I am saying that those things you list are not necessarily a prerequisite for learning. I had some poorly behaved bad dressers who were quite noisy who learned a shitload in my class.

    You don’t get to choose your students (unless you are a charter school).

  130. John Doe Says:

    Think logically, though: Are you really saying that those poorly behaved noisy kids would have learned LESS if they learned to sit still and pay attention? Give me a break. So no matter how much they supposedly learned in your class, they could have learned more with better behavior.

    Charter schools don’t get to pick students; they usually have to admit by lottery in every state that I’ve heard of.

  131. Billy Bob Says:

    Chris–you are the master of those six steps.

  132. Chris Smyr Says:

    Sure, if you forget that I haven’t done any of it myself, and yet ironically you have. How’s that fully peer-reviewed, yet unfinished dissertation coming along?

  133. DJ Says:

    I think that the writer raises an interesting question. Having worked as a teacher, principal and superintendent in urban, suburban and rural environments, having worked in a building shared by the original KIPP school for two years, and having visited other KIPP schools, I have a few observations: 1) African American and Hispanic students come from various socio-ecomonic backgrounds and home experiences. Some come from families with generations of high achievement and socio-economic success. Others may come from lower SES families, however, in both cases many are taught at home how to behave and how to achieve. They don’t need a heavy dose of behavioral training when they go to school. According to a some former African American KIPP parents that I know, the reason that they took their children out of the school is because of the heavy emphasis on correcting behavior and the quality of peers in the classroom. They felt that time taken for teaching behavior would have been spent on academic instruction in another good school. Also, they felt that the school had to have longer school hours and school days due to the extended focus. They wanted their children to have more rigorous academic instructional time within the normal school calendar and to have exposure to more well-rounded peers. They report that they understand why the school’s focus on behavior is needed and they still support the school’s work, even though it was not the best fit for their children. 2) Many middle class children today, despite race, come to school without good school-related behaviors and can also benefit from the KIPP model. Don’t assume that because a child is White and middle class that he or she has good school-related behaviors, or that he or she is academically prepared. This is becoming less and less true. 3) Catholic schools have always been strict, have upheld high standards and have demanded parent buy-in, and were once as successful with urban youth of color, as they have been with White students, so the author has a point. A side note: Please get rid of the deficit frame when analyzing minority children. It is not helpful and it no longer fits really. America has been so dumbed-down and the desired habits of mind and work for many students — Black, White or Latino, is not what it used to be, particularly for girls. All of our children can benefit from some aspect of the KIPP model. All of our children need good schools be they KIPP or Catholic, or some other school that is working with a significant segment of our young. No one school or model can meet all students’ needs. That is why we need Choice.

  134. TFT Says:

    John Doe, are you really saying those kids would have learned MORE if they learned to sit still and pay attention? Give ME a break.

    Some kids can’t sit still, but they can still concentrate. You would know that if you had any experience working with kids.

    You should probably stop commenting–your ignorance is showing.

  135. BCrosby Says:

    The fact that none of the people that run KIPP schools or sit on their boards send their own kids to KIPP schools should give us pause. Why aren’t we spending a huge chunk of that RTTT money to really innovate and try other methods and find out as many ways that work as possible? KIPP has been around for 15+ years … its not a new or especially innovative method and it is already getting funded by the billionaire boys. I don’t even mind if it and the charters that are similar get some RTTT money, but why not REQUIRE other pedagogical methods so we really get the benefit of innovation?

  136. John Doe Says:

    are you really saying those kids would have learned MORE if they learned to sit still and pay attention? Give ME a break.

    Yeah, that’s absolutely what I’m saying. In other news, I think that football players will do better if they pay attention to what play has just been called and what the opposing team is doing, drivers do better if they pay attention to the road rather than texting, and filmgoers get more out of a movie if they pay attention rather than spending half the time on their iPhone.

    But hey, you just argued yourself out of a job. If what you’re doing as a teacher is so worthless that kids don’t even get any benefit from paying attention to you, then why the hell should society pay for your salary?

  137. Angelique L. Vialou Says:

    Thank you, DJ for summarizing my feelings completely. We need choice.

    This question is timely for me. The school opeining up next to me (I live in a mixed neighborhood) is slated to be a KIPP school. The other nearby public elementary schools are also KIPP schools. Our neighborhood is clamoring for choice.

    My extremely anecdotal findings:

    1) None of my friends who live in my neighborhood would send their children to a KIPP school. Many of them are familiar with KIPP, but turned off by the patronizing, dogmatic tone of strict discipline to foster school culture.

    2) KIPP doesn’t seem to be concerned about how they are perceived by large chunks of the community, anyway. As an organization, KIPP has done absolutely nothing to make itself an attractive school for all the kids in the neighborhood. They’ve never set up a meeting to address our neighborhood association, nor have they responded to invitations to speak more informally to a group of parents/interested neighbors.

    3) In order make enrollment, it’s probably this KIPP school will have to recruit heavily outside of the surrounding community.

    4) Based on 1-3, it looks like this KIPP school will be pretty segregated in contrast to our nicely mixed neighborhood.

    We’ll see what truly bares out if this school does, in fact, become a KIPP school. Since KIPP is a mighty organization with lots of dollars compared to other charter providers, it may exert its influence over our community’s objections. It’s less that I have a problem with KIPP (I think they are a valuable organization), but I do have a problem if all of the schools are KIPP.

    For now, we just hope the ideal of parent choice prevails.

  138. Amy Says:

    In my district we are pursuing socio-economic (and therefore racial / ethnic) integration through magnets and student assignment procedures. We are fortunate to have great diversity in our district as a whole. When will America wake up and realize that segregation still is simply wrong, just as it always has been?

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