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

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jay's Missing Footnote for Today's KIPP Ad

As the oligarchs' leading print media promoter for more tests, more charter chain gangs like KIPP, and more data to back up the data that produces the data, Jay Mathews uses his WaPo column to pump these causes on a daily basis.  Today he returns to a snippet from a 2008 SRI California study of KIPP schools to make the case for longer school days:
On the longer-school-day side, we have programs such as KIPP, whose charter middle schools usually have nine-hour school days that last until 5 p.m., plus required three-week summer school and many Saturday sessions. A survey of KIPP students who completed the middle school program showed a 42 percentile gain in math and a 28 percentile gain in reading over four years.
Actually, Jay has chopped off a half hour for some reason (embarrrasing maybe?), since the study he refers to above, “San Francisco Bay Area KIPP Schools: A Study of Early Implementation and Achievement,” clearly notes the 9.5 hour school day (almost half of which is spent on math and reading), the 60 percent increase in school time overall,  and the 65 hour work week for teachers.  What Jay does not mention, too, is the winnowing effect over time that eliminates the weak and recalcitrant "miscreants" in order to maintain the KIPP brand that people like Mathews promote without noting KIPP's abusive psychological sterilization program or the KIPP attrition rates for both students and teachers that would be entirely unsustainable and unacceptable in regular public schools. 

From a 2008 post, quoting the SRI Bay Area KPP study:
Together, the four schools began with a combined total of 312 fifth graders in 2003-04, and ended with 173 eighth graders in 2006-07 (see Exhibit 2-3). The number of eighth graders includes new students who entered KIPP after fifth grade (p.12).
That amounts to a 55% attrition rate, even when adding all the new enrollees during the three years. Imagine what the attrition rate might be if the "researchers" took a measure of the beginners vs. completers without the new recruits.

And who are the students most likely to stick with KIPP? The ones with higher test scores when they entered, of course. And who are the students who are leaving KIPP? You guessed it, the low performing students:
We found that students who remained at KIPP had higher incoming scores in both reading and mathematics than did their peers who entered KIPP in fifth grade but exited before completing the program (see Exhibit 2-5). We also considered the question from another perspective: Are students with lower scores more likely to exit KIPP? We used fall fifth-grade SAT10 scores to predict those exiting KIPP and found that the probability of a student’s leaving KIPP before completing eighth grade is higher for those with lower entering scores (pp. 15-16).
If the segregated, total compliance KIPP containment schools represent the best that Mathews and the urban mind engineers can come up to recommend as the replacement for urban public schools, what does that say about corporate America's unacknowledged racism, classism, and utter lack of imagination and understanding of human needs, of children's needs?  But then these "postivized" hacks are the philosophical descendants of the 20th Century visionaries who inspired 30 states to adopt eugenical sterilization laws.

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