The KIPP chain of charter schools has been criticized for a number of things, including high attrition rates among both teachers and students, high salaries for its CEOs, and large expenditures on advertising.
They are also allowed to hide most of that information from the public – something that no actual public school would be allowed to do. I am reprinting a few paragraphs from ‘Schools Matter’ on the topic:
We know that KIPP’s high attrition among students and teachers has been documented since 2008, even though KIPP has gone to great lengths to hide the facts that most teachers last less than three year and that the majority of entering 5th graders never reach 9th grade.
Their secrecy, however, took on new dimensions when the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) recently requested student enrollment and attrition information from the U. S. Department of Education.
Since the U. S. Government handed over at least $40,000,000 in taxpayer money to KIPP over a two year period from 2013 through 2014, it would seem appropriate, would it not, that the federal government provide the requested information to public watchdog groups.
But, then, KIPP is not just any corporate charter chain. The KIPP Model of “no excuses”schools is the chosen model among white philanthropists and investors, hedge funds, and businessmen for a 21st Century indoctrination of the poor that is based on cultural/character scrubbing and neurological re-wiring of children to make them immune to effects of poverty. It is an aggressive and profitable agenda that hopes to re-shape urban education into a tool of paternalistic exploitation.
When CMD requested student attrition information about KIPP schools, ED bowed to KIPP’s request to redact all information related to student attrition. Would any of those Congressmen who demand public school accountability interested in knowing why the U. S. Education Department will not release this information? After all, these are public charter schools, right?
And here are some of those redacted pages:
KIPP touts itself as particularly successful at preparing students to succeed in school and college.
Yet, it insisted that the U.S. Department of Education keep secret from the public the statistics about the percentage of its eighth graders who completed high school, entered college, and/or who completed a two-year or four-year degree.
A few years ago, professor Gary Miron and his colleagues Jessica Urschel and Nicholas Saxton, found that “KIPP charter middle schools enroll a significantly higher proportion of African-American students than the local school districts they draw from but 40 percent of the black males they enroll leave between grades 6 and 8,” as reported by Mary Ann Zehr in Ed Week.
Zehr noted: “‘The dropout rate for African-American males is really shocking,’ said Gary J. Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement, and research” at Western Michigan University, who conducted the national study.
Miron’s analysis was attacked by KIPP and its allies, who said KIPP’s success was not due to the attrition of lower performing students who leave the school or move to other districts. One of its defenders was Mathematica Policy Research, whose subsequent study was used to try to rebut Miron’s analysis. (That name will be important momentarily.)
The Department of Education has been provided with the data about what percentage of KIPP students graduate from high school and go on to college, but it is helping KIPP keep that secret—despite the public tax dollars going to these schools and despite KIPP’s claim to be operating what are public schools.
Real public schools would never be allowed to claim that high school graduation rates or college matriculation rates are “proprietary” or “privileged” or “confidential.”