"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, February 13, 2009

Union Files Complaint With State On Behalf of KIPP Teachers

The KIPP Schools' chain gang pedagogy is built upon bullying, intimidation and brainwashing. There is reason such methods are amusingly referred to as KIPP-notizing by those admirers who prefer their African-American children docile and compliant, rather than assertive and questioning.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the same techniques of intimidation and bullying would be used against KIPP employees who have the audacity to challenge the cult leaders, Levine or Feinberg. The NYTimes reports now that Levine has refused to recognize teachers' legal request to seek union protection, thus assuring an ongoing legal battle that, ironically, could allow the world to see the KIPP reality that exists beyond the edupreneurs' PR machine paid for by Gates and Broad. Have a sneak peek:

. . . .The city’s teachers’ union also filed a complaint with the state’s labor board on Thursday, claiming that the administration intimidated employees at KIPP AMP and used staff meetings to discourage them from forming a union.

According to the complaint, Mr. Levin attended a mandatory staff meeting and said that the teachers’ current retirement, maternity and private pension benefits would be “potentially in jeopardy” and “all of that goes away,” if they formed a union. At the meeting, Mr. Levin distributed a letter with instructions on how to revoke their support for a union, union officials said.

George Arzt, a spokesman for KIPP, said that Mr. Levin was simply responding to inquiries from teachers about their options under state law, and added that the same information was available on the Web site of the state’s labor board.

Union officials said that they have received signatures supporting a union from 16 of the school’s 20 teachers and that no teacher has revoked support since the meeting with Mr. Levin on Feb. 6.

While two of the KIPP schools are formally represented by the teachers’ union, neither school has its own union contract, although one is subject to the city’s contract under a quirk of state law. Teachers at New York City KIPP schools are generally paid about 20 percent more than teachers with similar credentials in traditional public schools, in exchange for working longer hours and a longer school year.. . .


  1. But bullying and intimidation are perfectly acceptable to some.

    Here are a few things to throw out.

    "Why They Kill" by Richard Rhodes states the following: "The African American community, once violently enslaved, has depended for its survival partly on conservative Christian values that encourage physical punishment, and has been segregated by racial prejudice into impoverished turbulent and malignant minor communities where policing is both sporadic and more punitive...The South, statistically the most violent region in the country, combines poverty, enthusiasm for military service, conservative Christian values and social segregation as well." (pg. 319-20)

    I was a member of a lovely, 50-year-old co-op pre-school when my daughter was young. It was located in a neighborhood where many black families lived, and we wondered why they would not consider this school one little bit. The African American woman who provided daycare for the neighborhood told us that, for the Black parents, this school just wasn't "strict enough." (She was right, it was WAY more fun for the 3 & 4-year-olds than that.)

    About 10 years ago, a friend of mine did her first year of teaching at a school in West Oakland that was 90%+ African American, with a dominance of African American teachers. On being directed to make her students behave, some of the veteran teachers told my friend that she needed to yell louder, "because we can't hit them anymore." They weren't joking.

    Although some people think they're just fine, I cringe when I hear people talking about whoopins. http://www.youthradio.org/oldsite/relationships/npr0507_fatherson.shtml. My husband's grandmother used to hit him with a switch when he was about five. He doesn't believe it was beneficial, and his main memory of her is of being absolutely terrified.

    This has all got to be connected somehow to the acceptability of KIPP's techniques. I wonder what someone like Alvin Poissant, for instance, would say.

  2. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Another story that needs to be properly address to. I'm wondering how can we achieve good education if we will not take good care of our noble teachers? The latter are just asking what is due them. This should be respected and talk freely in one sitting.