Saturday, September 4, 2010

KIPP is the way the white and powerful want the poor of color to be educated — A Question for Obama: Why Does KIPP Not Look Like Sidwell?

The achievement gap has left the stadium, ladies and gentlemen, while growth models have taken the stage.  Now that the urban school systems have been blown up, thus clearing the way for the corporate charterites,  the canyon between test scores of the rich and poor is no longer of interest.  Indeed, the achievement gap has become a "mindless measure," to use the words of Jay Mathews.
....Jim Horn 
KIPP is the way the white and powerful want the poor of color to be educated... Ira Socol

This stuff is so good, I've delayed leaving for the beach to get it out there. Jim Horn put up a scathing piece the other day, including videos, at Schools Matter and followed up today. He delves into the shifting vocabulary from closing the achievement gap to the current quality teaching/value added craze and explains it this way:
this new value-added universe is not even interested in those troublesome group comparisons any longer that are based on the poverty chasm. Unless, of course, the reformers need to shut down your neighborhood school and turn it into a corporate-styled testing madrasah, i. e., charter school. Then your percentile ranking becomes a crucial tool in deciding who is in that bottom five percent that just keeps replenishing itself as the last group is scraped off to become charterized.
Jim nails exactly what the Tweed yokels are trying to pull off with their road show explaining the test score gap. Oh my God. This stuff is getting me hot. Screw the beach. Here is a section from Jim's Sept. 1 post:
Below is an open online letter from Ira Socol to the President.  I have ventured to add a few comments and a couple of video clips.
Dear President Obama,

I wanted to discuss the things you believe are "innovative in education," just so I might assure you that in this field - in the field of America's future - your administration is doing irreparable harm.

 "Students at both KIPP and Achievement First schools follow a system for classroom behavior invented by Levin and Feinberg called Slant, which instructs them to sit up, listen, ask questions, nod and track the speaker with their eyes." Yes, the first thing KIPP teaches is Calvinist church behaviour. "They all called out at once, “Nodding!"' Yes. Stare at your master. Sit still. Nod to demonstrate your compliance. Speak in unison according to the script.

Mr. President, this is not innovation. We know this formula. It drove the colonialist education systems of Wales and Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was the hallmark of British Colonial Schools from Lagos to Cape Town to Delhi. It was the path followed by the U.S. government's Indian Schools.
Read the entire piece at Schools Matter: Why Does KIPP Not Look Like Sidwell?

In today's excellent follow-up responding to Jay Mathews, including this:
Jay and the the new generation of reformers doing the same thing as the last generation (when will they become the status quo?) would rather look at test score growth over time, especially when big achievement gap closing claims by your favorite politicians do not materialize. Focusing on individual gains makes the disparity between the haves and the have-nots much easier to ignore, since this new value-added universe is not even interested in those troublesome group comparisons any longer that are based on the poverty chasm. Unless, of course, the reformers need to shut down your neighborhood school and turn it into a corporate-styled testing madrasah, i. e., charter school. Then your percentile ranking becomes a crucial tool in deciding who is in that bottom five percent that just keeps replenishing itself as the last group is scraped off to become charterized.
The New Status Quo
I love the "when will they become the status quo" line? We have been having fun with this idea here in NY by referring to BloomKlein in just that way. As a matter of fact, we have been forming a group to do street theater called "The Status Quo Players." Even thinking of tee-shirts. How's this? STATUS and QUO shirts with an arrow pointing to the left saying "I'm with QUO"? Here is the intro to Jim's piece today:

"Irrepressible" Bloggers vs. the Borg

Jay Mathews is the insider's insider on corporate education reform issues, serving as the media mouthpiece for the psychological sterilization movement of KIPP and the KIPP knock-offs.  The Elder himself, Bill Gates, carries a supply of Jay's KIPP book to hand out to anyone interested in the Oligarchs' choice of a final solution to educating the poor and the brown of urban America.

At the same time KIPP is becoming the urban model for corporate ed reform, the movement is in the process of pivoting from the the phony campaign under Bush ostensibly to close the black-white achievement gap, with the same high expectations for all, thus avoiding "the soft bigotry of low expectations," blah-blah, to a new phony campaign of assuring that poor children have the same access to high quality teachers and schools because education is now the "civil rights issue of our generation."  Blah, blah, blah.  While the pivot leaves in place the high-stakes standardized testing that declared 30-40 percent of public schools failures and charter targets under the last 9 years of NCLB,  the pivot demands a shift in what is measured by the tests and how it is measured.  The achievement gap has left the stadium, ladies and gentlemen, while growth models have taken the stage.  Now that the urban school systems have been blown up, thus clearing the way for the corporate charterites

The focus now is on "a year's worth of individual student growth" for a year's worth of teaching (much more on this later, with a feature on the Wizard of Oz, Bill Sanders).  In short, the new target of corporate ed reform is to blow up, or disrupt, the teaching profession by measuring effective teaching on how much test score growth a teacher can oversee.  And as the new CEO-led KIPP chain gangs are to replace urban public schools, so then an endless stream of non-union white missionary temps are being prepared to replace the professionals who now staff the urban schools.  Test score gains, or lack thereof, will be used to justify the firing of professionals and the use of temps from TFA and the TFA knock-offs that Arne fondly calls alternative teacher certification programs.

So Jay defends KIPP - of course. Discipline is exaggerated. Ira Socol left comments on Mathews' blog, to which Mathews responded. Here are a few excerpts but head over to the piece when you are through here to read it all.

So yes Jay, I have been in KIPP schools...I have been in KIPP schools (3) and - personally - I have found them terrifying.
But more than that Jay, I have some really extensive experience in the types of communities KIPP seeks to serve. I know these kids, and I know what they could do if they were offered the kind of educational opportunities available at Sidwell (or Cranbrook, or St. Ann's or etc).
And I know one more thing. Barack and Michelle would never send their daughters to a KIPP school, nor tolerate KIPP-style education in any school their daughters attended. As I've said, KIPP is the way the white and powerful want the poor of color to be educated. But they aren't suggesting it because that's a path to equality. They are suggesting it for just the opposite reason - they don't want the competition for their own children. 
What concerned me? An absolute lack of tolerance for mental, learning, and behavioural diversity, in classroom after classroom, corridor after corridor. Of course I come from a Special Education background, so this was far more disturbing than it might be to others. I also found the brutality of teacher-student, and especially in Indianapolis, administrator-student communication fairly shocking. If you would send your grandchildren there, you're a different kind of parent than I am.
In Chicago I saw a young teacher working one-on-one with a series of students who needed reading help. A few things stood out. The students who came to him were all, quite obviously, struggling with different aspects of the reading process. One had essentially no phonological awareness, one was really struggling with the symbols (he could not, as an example, associate the lower case letters with the equivalent upper case letters), a third read fluently but with almost zero comprehension.
The teacher, very clearly untrained in any of this, repeated the same efforts with all the kids. He was clearly operating from a script. And as his efforts inevitably failed, he became angry with the students, repeatedly blaming them for "not trying hard enough." The child with no phonological awareness was called "lazy" repeatedly. KIPP only phenomenon? Of course not, but I saw similar scenes throughout all the buildings.
in KIPP classrooms I have seen teachers encourage children to humiliate others. And this is done with the "pack" using the same words, as if scripted. You may see that as positive, I see it as hazing, and perhaps a significant reason for KIPP's rather stunning attrition rate. http://epicpolicy.org/newsletter/2010/06/new-kipp-study-underestimates-attrition-effects-0 A rate the KIPP Foundation seems to go to great lengths to obscure. 

I could go on but I'm getting giddy. Read more here:

"Irrepressible" Bloggers vs. the Borg

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