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 thoughts on “KIPP and Catholic Schools

  1. steve f.

    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.

  2. edconsumer

    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.

  3. Ira Socol

    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?

  4. Pro-KIPP

    “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.

  5. Linda/RetiredTeacher

    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.

  6. edconsumer

    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!

  7. August

    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.

  8. Linda/RetiredTeacher

    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.

  9. Ira Socol

    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.

  10. Billy Bob

    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.

  11. Linda/RetiredTeacher

    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.

  12. John Doe

    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.

  13. John Doe

    . 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.

  14. steve f.

    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?

  15. Pro-KIPP

    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.

  16. James

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

  17. Ira Socol

    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.

  18. TFT

    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.

  19. Pro-KIPP

    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.

  20. Pro-KIPP

    “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?

  21. urrrgg

    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”

  22. TFT

    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.

  23. Corey

    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.

  24. urrrgg

    Actually it works better like this:

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

    nuff’ said

  25. Ira Socol

    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.

  26. urrrgg

    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?

  27. John Doe

    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.

  28. John Doe

    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).

  29. TFT

    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.

  30. urrrgg

    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.”

  31. TFT

    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.

  32. urrrgg

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

  33. thenofunzone

    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.

  34. TFT

    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.

  35. Ira Socol

    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.

  36. thenofunzone

    “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.

  37. TFT

    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?

  38. Ira Socol

    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.

  39. John Doe

    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

  40. thenofunzone

    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.

  41. GGW

    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.

  42. TFT

    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.

  43. Linda/RetiredTeacher

    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?

  44. thenofunzone

    “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.

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