The Secret Behind KIPP? Get Rid of the Low-Scoring Students

And of course, that’s what private schools do, too. You have to take entrance exams to get into St. Alban’s, Sidwell, Maret, Phillips Exeter, and so on.

At KIPP public charter school, they don’t have an entrance exam. But the parents have to sign up for some pretty heavy responsibilities (ones what we wish all parents could do, but we know, unfortunately, that some will not and can not. After all, if you are locked up or dead, it’s pretty hard to come to mandatory Saturday classes!) or the students will not be accepted.

In any case, today’s guest Answer Sheet column in the Washington Post (conducted by Valerie Strauss but written today by Richard Kahlenberg) shows conclusively that the way that KIPP achieves its “success” is by unloading its low-achievers as they progress through middle school. Enrollments drop, and those students are not replaced with new ones.

What’s more, KIPP once tried to take over an existing inner-city school, one in which they were not allowed to select the students. Guess what: they failed, and gave it up. It reminds me of Geoffrey Canada ‘firing’ an entire grade of students in his ‘Harlem miracle’.

Here is the link:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/charter-schools/myths-and-realities-about-kipp.html?referrer=emaillink

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Guess what — KIPP DOES give tests to applicants.

    Repeating info I posted on Valerie Strauss’ blog. As a blogger, I did a little undercover work starting my then-seventh-grader in the application process for one of my local KIPP schools, KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy. We got as far as the point of scheduling her “KIPP doesn’t give entrance tests but you must sign up for this test” test before gracefully withdrawing from the application process.

    They claim that the tests are to determine the student’s academic grade level, not accept-vs.-reject tests. However. (Also, note that a non-compliant student is highly likely to refuse to take the test at all, so it’s a powerful screening tool.)

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  2. Another comment, put on Valerie Strauss’ blog by another reader, but worth repeating for my few hundred readers:

    <<I think it is much more than "natural attrition" because studies of their dropouts show they are mostly low performers. If it was natural attrition due to family mobility you would see the academic achievement of the drop-outs to be the same as the retained population.

    <<I know anecdotally a KIPP parent here in DC explained to me that one of the reasons she is very happy with the school is that they get rid of all their behavior problems. This is illegal, but common among some charters. My local school gets a couple dozen kids who have been kicked out of local charters every year. Last year we started giving their parents the phone number for the discipline project at the ACLU, telling them that if they wanted to stay at our school they could but if they wanted to go back to the charter it was illegal to kick them out and the ACLU would represent them with the school. After the 5th family in a two week period the principal of the school had the gall to call and yell at my principal that she had to stop sending these kids back because it wasn't fair. Our LSRT had fun laughing about that.

    <>

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  3. Thanks for the link. My comment is under 1citizen.

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  4. What’s more, KIPP once tried to take over an existing inner-city school, one in which they were not allowed to select the students. Guess what: they failed, and gave it up. It reminds me of Geoffrey Canada ‘firing’ an entire grade of students in his ‘Harlem miracle’.
    I asked Jay Mathews about this: What if KIPP had to take over a school and take all the kids there, for example, Stanton Elementary in SouthEast DC?
    His response is that would be interesting.
    Could you please tell us more about this school?
    I regard Jay as honest, but misguided.
    I’d like his view on this.

    (BTW, as I have posted on Jay’s blog as well as here, the 2 KIPP schools in Indiana (where they have another fool for governor and education chief) perform below the state average on their state assessment.)

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  5. […] seem more often to turn children into robots than engage them in critical thinking, and sometimes throw entire cohorts of students out of their schools when they don’t […]

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