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KIPP visitor's critique, KIPP leader's response

A reader signing in as "suegjoyce" recently posted a comment on this blog describing her visit to a KIPP middle school "in the Delta." KIPP is the Knowledge Is Power Program, the most successful charter school network in the country and the subject of my most recent book. I was pleased to see suegjoyce's comment, since I have been urging readers curious about KIPP to ignore the myths they read on the Internet and instead visit a KIPP school. The vast majority of people I have encountered online with negative opinions of KIPP give no indication that they have ever been inside one of those schools, so she was setting a good example.

She had some critical things to say. She was not specific about which KIPP middle school she visited, but only one has the word "Delta" in its title, the KIPP Delta College Preparatory School in Helena-West Helena, Ark. So I asked Scott Shirey, executive director of the KIPP schools in that area, to respond. Neither Scott nor I know how to reach suegjoyce, but if she sees this and has more to say, I would be delighted to post her thoughts prominently on the blog.

Scott broke down her post into its different parts, and commented on each. I would be very happy if more readers sent me reports of their visits to schools that we don't know enough about, either as comments here or by emailing me at mathewsj@washpost.com.

suegjoyce: “Having heard so much about the success of Kipp schools, I visited one, a middle school in the Delta. This is what I observed and was told by students and staff. First, they take all students BUT if the students do not follow the rules, they are put out. I was told that the boot rate was 41% but I have not seen any official data. The kids who flunk out and misbehave go ... guess where? ... yep, the public schools.”

Shirey: While we have had high rates of attrition in the early years, they have stabilized over time.Last year our attrition rate was 17.6 percent, down 7.6 percent from two years ago. So far we have expelled less than one percent of students who have enrolled at KIPP. Expulsion is a serious matter, and requires a formal review with the board. We have had some of our greatest success with Special Education students and low performers, many of whom have been accepted to college this year.

suegjoyce: “Second, The longer days are not everyday and not for all students. Only students needing extra tutoring stay later and only a couple of times a week. Saturday mornings are for the same students.”

Shirey: We still offer an extended day, week and year at KIPP. Over time, we have modified our program to take into account students’ and teachers’ needs. We dismiss at 4:00 each day because of our long bus routes and because our kindergarteners now ride the buses as well. Teachers are available 4:00 to 6:00 and beyond to tutor students who need even more time. The earlier dismissal also offers teachers more time for planning. While Saturday school is mandatory for elementary and middle school students, it is optional for high school students.

suegjoyce: “They have another late day for a celebration. In the celebration, the kids who have done well receive rewards by 'buying' items with the 'dollars' they earned for being successful during the week during the week. They can save from week to week to get a really good prize.”

Shirey: This refers to KIPP’s paycheck and auction system. This is a well-established part of KIPP’s model, and is separate from the extended school day described above.

suegjoyce: “In the spring, for $100.00, kids have the choice of touring Atlanta, Washington, or camping out in Utah.”

Shirey: We do organize trips for students who earn enough ‘KIPP dollars’ to be eligible during the year. Our 5th graders travel to Washington D.C.; our 6th graders go to Utah; our 7th graders visit Boston, New York, and Philadelphia; and our 8th graders do a Civil Rights trip which includes Atlanta. In the early days, we covered all expenses for every student for these trips, but this proved to be too costly. Currently we ask families to contribute a nominal fee of $100, which is much lower than the actual cost. No student is excluded from these trips because the family can’t pay. For students whose families cannot afford the $100 contribution, we work with the families to set up a payment plan or waive the fee altogether.

suegjoyce: “Kids are drilled and tested over and over again with scores posted in hallway for all to see. ALL scores, good or bad.”

Shirey: We do have an interim testing program, and believe strongly in posting data, but this is only a small part of what we do. In addition to regular classwork, we have students engaged in arts activities, science labs, and Socratic seminars. As an example, our high school engineering class recently participated in a large competition. They took second place behind historic Central High in Little Rock, which has a student body about 20 times larger than ours.

suegjoyce: “Kipp is using a token economy, an old reward method that works well with some students, but not all. Since so many Kipp students are disadvantaged, this is a good motivator.”

Shirey: We use the paycheck system that was developed at the original KIPP Academies, and have adapted it for use at KIPP Delta with positive results. We recognize that no one system meets all the needs of every single student, so we continue to adapt our policies and implement additional strategies as we see fit. We do find that the paycheck system serves as an immediate incentive to students, especially when college can seem like a long way away. Parents also appreciate the paycheck, because it serves as a virtual ‘progress report’ on how their child is doing in school.

suegjoyce: “If the public schools could ditch all students who misbehave and fail academically, we could be a Big Success too!!”

Shirey: KIPP’s success is built on helping underachievers become overachievers. One example of many: one of our high school seniors entered our program as a fifth grader at the 19th percentile—a “failing” student. After eight years with KIPP, he was accepted to Vanderbilt University with a full scholarship, and will be attending there next year.

By Jay Mathews  | March 31, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  KIPP Delta College Preparatory School, KIPP leader responds, KIPP visitor critiques school, suegjoyce  
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Comments

I actually think very highly of the KIPP program. It works very well for a significant group of students. However, comparing their successes to the public school system is laughable. An attrition rate of 18% (formerly 25%) is very significant in that those are the kids who are not willing to do the work or behave in the way expected and are transferred to the public schools. Many schools would have much better results if they could get rid of the bottom 20% of their population based on behavior or performance.

I have no doubt that some KIPP kids succeed, and the model is a good one for a lot of students, but comparing their success, with the ability to drop 20% of their students, teachers working 70+ hour weeks, and so on is not scalable to public education.

My own experience with students who have graduated from KIPP middle schools is very mixed. Some do fantastic, others can't cope with having any freedom and revert to bad habits and failure to work.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | March 31, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

More and more in life I am forced to recall a wise old Russian saying: "Better is the enemy of good." The first Russian who said this must have been thinking of situations like KIPP schools.

Considering the bottom-of-the-barrel quality of students that KIPP schools take in, a 25%-30% explusion rate is not just good, but great considering the average outcome of the students who are retained. Rather than considering why KIPP schools aren't near perfect, critics would do better considering how to stand up other "good enough" alternatives to failing public schools.

Posted by: fairfaxvaguy | March 31, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I think the above two commenters are confusing "attrition" rate with "expulsion" rate. Shirey said they expelled only 1% of students, but the attrition rate is closer to 20%.

The under-performing public schools in my State have higher attrition and expulsion rates than does Shirey's school.

It does seem that, even if you focus on the students that don't finish at KIPP schools, they are still meeting the needs of more students, and more needy students, than we find in the public schools.

With a 1% expulsion rate, you can hardly claim KIPP Delta is "getting rid of the bottom 20%." I'd like to hear more from Shirey about the attrition rate -- are those students asked to stay? are they choosing to leave on their own?

Posted by: EduCrazy | March 31, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

As a comparison -- the Hartford Public School system has an attrition rate near 60%.

Only 42% of Hartford students graduate. KIPP is looking better and better all the time.

Posted by: EduCrazy | March 31, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"KIPP’s success is built on helping underachievers become overachievers"

Brilliant!

My husband and I have used exactly this language here in our high-SES school district (per pupil funding approximately $32K this year).

We want our son to 'overachieve' in math.

In my experience, affluent public schools flatly reject this concept. Paul Attewell's "The Winner-Take-All High School: Organizational Adaptations to Educational Stratification" is the study to read.

Imagine the level of achievement you'd see in high-SES districts led by people like Shirey--!

Posted by: cijohn | March 31, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of KIPP, and adopted many of my classroom management ideas from them (I taught a stone's throw away from the South Bronx KIPP school). But I always find the argument that KIPP doesn't expel large numbers of students unpersuasive. As any teacher will tell you, it's not the consequence that changes behavior, but the credible threat of the consequence. (To use a rough metaphor, you're not polite to someone after they shoot you; you call that person "sir" to avoid getting shot in the first place.)

My personal belief both from visiting KIPP schools and speaking with those who have taught there is that part of the magic is the control they maintain over their environment. The ability to set school tone, manage behavior, and force compliance improves dramatically when you have the ability to expel or "counsel out."

A low expulsion rate does not suggest that KIPP's ability to counsel out is irrelevant. Indeed, it may prove precisely the opposite point--that real student accountability matters.

Let me hasten to add, that I don't think KIPP needs to apologize for this. Ambitious, hard-working inner city kids deserve a place where their earnest desire to succeed in a focused, serious environment is the norm.

Posted by: rpondiscio | March 31, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@cijohn I think Shirley's success in a high-SES school would depend on his ability to adapt to a very different student body.

But anyway, what improvement is really required from the high-SES schools? I went to one, and students were already plenty motivated.

How do you think they would benefit from the KIPP drill-sergeant approach? At my HS, it would have been a disaster.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | March 31, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

EduCrazy beat me to the punch. Attrition numbers often reflect kids moving, not being kicked out.

afsljafweljkjlfe--- High SES schools don't need the longer KIPP school day because the culture at home is an natural extension of the school day. The parents are college grads who know what it takes to get there, and make sure their kids do it. Kipp families don't have that advantage, but you have to drop the notion that KIPP uses a drill-sergeant approach. It is one of the many myths about KIPP. They do require that younger kids walk in straight lines, quietly, from class to class, as many high SES elementary schools do. The actual teaching is as rich and imaginative as anything you will see in Scarsdale. Visit a school sometime like suegjoyce did. Kids do learn some chants, but that's FUN for them, not drill. That particular part of the KIPP method would work fine in nicer neighborhoods, at least for the fifth graders who are the ones who learn the KIPP chants. By 7th and 8th grades the chants are not used much.

Posted by: Jay Mathews | March 31, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

My kids learned a "CMT" rap prior to their state tests. They sing a school song in unison on the playground before the start of the day.

We are a high-SES town. Chants and drills are no stranger here.

I don't know if high-SES kids would benefit from the KIPP methods, although I suspect they would. Remember, our highest performing students still fall far short of the average student in the top international countries, according to PISA and TIMSS.

But I would love to see teachers and administrators take responsibility for student achievement (as in KIPP). In high-SES towns like mine, if a student doesn't do well, everything is blamed EXCEPT the curriculum and instruction. In which case, parents pay for tutors to teach or reteach what wasn't mastered at school. I'd love my school to embrace KIPP pedagogy and take responsibility in the classroom for what students learn.

Posted by: EduCrazy | March 31, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@Jay You're right, I've never visited a KIPP school, and I certainly understand that they are great for their target demographic. However, I have not yet read of any KIPP practice that I wished they'd adopt in the top SES schools.

This is precisely for the reasons that you mention: the parents have already walked the path, and we can shepherd our children along it.

I mean, a paycheck and auction system? By age 13, I owned a computer repair business. If I could have worked at it full time, I would have been making more without a middle school "diploma" than KIPP graduates, even after earning bachelor's degree. Monopoly money would not have provided any motivation in my school district.

Dismissing at 4pm? That would have interfered with extracurricular activities to waste my time drilling something I understood the first time. Knowing myself as a teenager, that would have led to my adoption of several disciplinary problems.

Because different students learn best in different environments, I think it's great to have different types of schools to address that need.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | March 31, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I hardly believe what I read; "what improvement is really required from high-SES schools?" Kids from those schools do well because parents make up for the schools' deficiencies (like balanced literacy and Everyday Math), either themselves, tutors, Kumon etc. The schools pat themselves on the back and make a point not to consider the amount of tutoring. I was recently told by a parent that over 50% of the first graders in Scarsdale were being tutored. My (gifted/honors/AP) kids attended high-SES schools in four counties (including MoCo) and three states and none of the schools had any interest in providing really challenging material until the honors/AP in high school and many more kids could have and should have been at that level. I know how much time my husband and I spent making up for things the schools didn't do. Many kids could be accelerated, but that is rarely an option. The other issue is efficiency; school waste a HUGE amount of time. In ES-MS, I'd estimate half the day, since discovery learning and groupwork are inherently inefficient.

I'm pretty sure that situation has worsened since NCLB; making sure the top doesn't get challenged and not too many white and Asian kids get to the top is the easiest way to narrow the achievement gap.

Posted by: momof4md | March 31, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"How do you think they would benefit from the KIPP drill-sergeant approach?"

Oh, gosh.

Let me count the ways.

Just having the adults in charge of a) providing sufficient "deliberate practice" for kids to gain expertise and b) assessing students frequently to see whether they **have** gained expertise would make all the difference in the world.

And, of course, having the adults root for every child - priceless.

It's the difference between a sorting machine and a real school.

Posted by: cijohn | March 31, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"what improvement is really required from the high-SES schools?"

What (So-Called) Low-Performing Schools Can Teach (So-Called) High-Performing Schools by Richard Elmore

Posted by: cijohn | March 31, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

rpondiscio

Made a comment which was correct in every respect. It should be the starting point where the reform conversation begins

Posted by: mamoore1 | March 31, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@momof4md Are you actually proposing that the entirety of a child's education should come from school? Why? Was your most valuable learning in your AP European History course?

And what do you consider tutoring? I teach my kids because they are sponges and love learning. Is that tutoring? Or just me being a parent?

P.S. Groupwork is how real life works. I'm sorry you think children should be exposed to less of it, but I respectfully disagree.

@cijohn When you wrote "deliberate practice", I read "deliberate pain". Is rote memorization what passes for learning these days?

At one point, we taught kids how to think, as opposed to how to recall. When did that stop?

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | March 31, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Groupwork is how real life works."

And tennis matches are how tennis works.

That doesn't mean the way to teach tennis is to put novices in a tennis game on day one.

Posted by: cijohn | March 31, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I am in no way suggesting that the whole of a child's learning SHOULD come from school, in an ideal world. However, in the real world, the kids at the bottom of the SES spectrum ARE wholly dependent on the school because their parents are unable/unwilling to contribute to their education. Certainly, advantaged parents provide lots of enrichment and that's fine. What is not fine is schools failing to teach basics like math and reading, to mastery. Mastery does mean memorizing math facts and algorithms. It does mean learning phonics, grammar, punctuation etc. Kids at normal or gifted levels, from high-SES families, should not need regular, formal or informal tutoring in these areas, if the school is doing its job properly.

Groupwork is inefficient and, at younger ages, amounts to kids pooling their ignorance (if they stay on task, at all). It can be useful at older ages, once kids have sufficient background knowledge, and in homogeneous groups where everyone is able to make an equal contribution.

Posted by: momof4md | March 31, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"As a comparison -- the Hartford Public School system has an attrition rate near 60%.

Only 42% of Hartford students graduate. KIPP is looking better and better all the time."

Now this is a minor point but we should not be comparing attrition rates of middle schools with high school or district graduation rates. For one thing, school is compulsary for those of middle school age but not for all in high school age. Also, while the attrition rate is typically measuring students from one year to another while the graduation rate, by some definitions, compares 9th graders to those graduating 4 years later. (By any definition however, a 42 percent graduation rate is not acceptable.)

I did a quick check on my county's web site and I found that the mobility rates ( entrants and withdrawls) of themiddle school near where I live in Silver Spring range from about 12 to 17 percent.

Posted by: stitchdad | March 31, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for rewarding good behavior, but I certainly wouldn't feel good about using shame as a form of discipline. Wearing signs and ostracism are using fear of humiliation to enforce discipline. When a Kipp school opened in my area, they made the students stand until they earned a desk. When anything like this has happened in a regular public school, it ends up on the front page with calls to punish the teacher or administrator.

Posted by: Susan50 | March 31, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"Kids at normal or gifted levels, from high-SES families, should not need regular, formal or informal tutoring in these areas, if the school is doing its job properly."

Exactly! I've had numerous people tell me that I should enroll my kids in our neighborhood school and just provide academic enrichment after school. Well, if I'm going to have to teach them after school in order for them to get adequate intellectual stimulation, then what's the point of me sending them to school in the first place? Might as well just keep homeschooling them!

Posted by: CrimsonWife | March 31, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"High SES schools don't need the longer KIPP school day because the culture at home is an natural extension of the school day. "

Where do you get this stuff, Jay?

High SES schools don't need the longer KIPP school day because their kids have close to twenty times the ability that KIPP schools do. There's no evidence that the "culture" at home is doing additional education time.

And attrition doesn't have to be expulsion. The low motivation kids leave.

This really isn't an issue, and I'm getting really tired of people pretending that the expulsion/attrition rate doesn't make comparisons between KIPP and public schools pointless.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | March 31, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I am supportive of schools like this, especially since I sent my own sons to one. It was called a Catholic school and it also expelled the very low achievers and the poorly behaved. Parental involvement was required.

The only thing I object to is the posting of all scores, high and low, for everyone to see. Even St. Cornelius did not engage in public humiliation. That particular practice was discredited about a hundred years ago.

Teachers are not against KIPP, which does seem to be doing an outstanding job with its students; but many of us are against comparing these schools to regular public schools. Traditional public schools must accept and keep everyone and that makes all the difference.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | March 31, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

for Cal---I think you are losing it. You said:

"High SES schools don't need the longer KIPP school day because their kids have close to twenty times the ability that KIPP schools do."

Twenty times the ability? How are you measuring ability? Evidence please? How do you explain KIPP middle schoolers rising on average to the 60th percentile in reading and the 82nd percentile in math, from the 32nd and 40th percentile respectively, after 4 years at KIPP middle schools?

For Susan50---if you will let me know which KIPP school this is, I will be happy to check out yr story and report back what I found to the blog. I suspect the truth, as often is the case with KIPP, is different than the second or third hand account you heard.

Posted by: Jay Mathews | April 1, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

For Susan50---if you will let me know which KIPP school this is, I will be happy to check out yr story and report back what I found to the blog. I suspect the truth, as often is the case with KIPP, is different than the second or third hand account you heard.

Jay, I've made students earn their desks in public school, not really a big deal. Like a lot of things it's all in how you do it.

Posted by: mamoore1 | April 1, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

for mamoore1---tell me how that works. I am interested.

Posted by: Jay Mathews | April 1, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Jay,

Kipp students may, eventually, rise to the level of suburban students--although for the most part, they won't.

But that's after they've had the long days, not before. The long days are required in order for them to catch up. You were arguing that suburban kids don't need long days because they get "cultcha" at home. That's nonsense. They don't need long days because they already have the skills that the KIPP kids don't have. The KIPP kids need the longer days to get those skills. Then, apparently, they need the longer days to keep the skills.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | April 1, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"However, I have not yet read of any KIPP practice that I wished they'd adopt in the top SES schools. "

Indeed not. KIPP can't assume a particular level of cultural fluency. They substitute discipline and obedience.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | April 1, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I was sold on KIPP schools before I read Jay's book. I agree with Jay that these are "the most promising schools in America." Jay didn't link his book but it can be purchased through Amazon at the following link.
http://www.amazon.com/Work-Hard-Be-Nice-Promising/dp/1565125169

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | April 1, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"KIPP can't assume a particular level of cultural fluency. They substitute discipline and obedience."

Wow, Cal. Talk about your over-generalized, baseless assumptions. Spend some time in any urban public school and you will find many parents with a strong cultural belief in education, but they are often overwhelmed by the negative societal influences they face every day.

Go to any suburban school and you will find plenty of families that abuse their kids, leave them home for hours every day alone with video games and youtube.

The inner city kids face challenges and hurdles, but you can not say the families have no culture or support of education (unless you've never met one). But you also can't assume the suburban schools and families are models of good behavior either.

I believe most parents are doing the best they can most of the time. But suburban parents tend to have more resources to remediate and reteach and there's the real issue. A failing suburban kid will get tutoring. A suburban kid's parents can (usually) correct the math mistakes and grammar errors or teach the material again if the child fails. Inner city families tend to lack those resources that are needed to compensate for the lousy instruction their kids get in school.

And you say "discipline" like its a bad thing.

Posted by: EduCrazy | April 2, 2010 6:03 AM | Report abuse

"Traditional public schools must accept and keep everyone and that makes all the difference."

That's really not true.

If you read Work Hard. Be Nice. (which I hope everyone will!) you see clearly that KIPP manages to keep kids who would be lost in regular public schools.

KIPP creates a school culture that motivates children to work hard and achieve.

Too often, people assume that 'motivation' is a biologically or culturally given constant. Child 'X' has 'X' amount of motivation.

In fact, motivation is highly dependent on the immediate environment -- i.e. on the school environment, not just the home environment.

The easiest way to see this is to think back on high school teachers who inspired kids to strive and achieve while teachers next door, teaching the same kids in the same school, did not.

A good teacher and a good school raise student motivation as well as student achievement.

Posted by: cijohn | April 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Doug Lemov's book is out. Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College. A number of the "champion teachers" he observed worked at KIPP schools.

The book includes page after page of techniques for building motivation and engagement in students.

Posted by: cijohn | April 2, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's an excerpt from Doug Lemov's Technique 45: Warm/Strict --

"We're socialized to believe that warmth and strictness are opposites: if you're more of one, it means being less of the other. I don't know where this false conception comes from, but if you choose to believe in it, it will undercut your teaching. The fact is that the degree to which you are warm has no bearing on the degree to which you are strict, and vice versa.... [Y]ou must be both: caring, funny, warm, concerned, and nurturing--and also strict, by the book, relentless, and sometimes inflexible. It's not, 'I care about you, but you still must serve the consequence for being late,' but, 'Because I care about you, you must serve the consequences for being late.'

[snip]

[Y]ou should often seek to be both at the same time. When you are clear, consistent, firm, and unrelenting and at the same time positive, enthusiastic, caring and thoughtful, you start to send the message to students that having high expectations is part of caring for and respecting someone. This is a very powerful message."

I had observed this exact culture in my son's Catholic high school, and I had been calling it: "High Joy/High Discipline."

Posted by: cijohn | April 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I had observed this exact culture in my son's Catholic high school, and I had been calling it: "High Joy/High Discipline."

This was very much the type of Catholic high school in which I taught. I was a very different kind of teacher in that environment than I had been teaching in a public high school for many years.

While exceptional teachers can and do make differences in lives of kids in any academic environment, I think it's important to acknowledge that the majority of us are (and were not) exceptional.

Jay finds these exceptional teachers and concludes wrongly (I believe) that they can be the norm. I think that if the norm is an exceptional one the teachers become exceptional.

I also think Jay oversells the power of AP. Simply putting that label on lots of classes at an average-performing high school does not transform the high school into an exceptional one. That said, I'm not convinced that it does any harm either, and it could eventually benefit the school, if the school works to build a pre-AP structure to support its AP program.

Posted by: patrickmattimore1 | April 2, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

"Go to any suburban school and you will find plenty of families that abuse their kids, leave them home for hours every day alone with video games and youtube."

Who said otherwise? Certainly not I. It's Jay who is arguing that suburban kids get "cultcha" from their parents and so don't need the longer school day. I've said exactly the opposite--that suburban kids, despite what you so charmingly characterize as abuse, video games, and youtube, score higher than low income urban kids. That's because the performance gap is almost certainly not caused by educational opportunities.

"Cultural fluency", as I used it, was referring to school culture. Suburban kids have long been institutionalized to discipline and don't need the rigid demands that urban kids need in order to respond. Plus, their parents wouldn't tolerate it.

But that, too, doesn't have much to do with closing the achievement gap.

Look, I really don't think there's much point to all these efforts to close the achievement gap. The achievement gap almost certainly can't be closed.

What I am in favor of is improving educational outcomes. I think KIPP does that fairly well. They just shouldn't be given credit for doing more than they actually do. They can't close the achievement gap. They certainly don't educate all kids. Their system is designed to weed out underachievers by having them quit. None of that is bad and it doesn't change their accompolishments. I just get tired of people pretending that KIPPs achievements could scale.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | April 3, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Jay, the incident that I mentioned regarding KIPP students having to earn their desks took place at KIPP Academy in Lynn, Massachusetts. This was from an article in The Daily Item of Lynn Massachusetts on Aug.14,2008. What troubles me about this,is that it reminds me of a tactic that might be used in a prison rather than a school. By virtue of the fact that these children are students, aren't they worthy of receiving a desk?

Posted by: Susan50 | April 3, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

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