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

Monday, January 27, 2014

KIPP's Open Bar Night at Houston's Hard Rock Cafe, and Other Tales from Las Vegas

The stories of twenty former KIPP teachers will be compiled in a book available later this year, but here is another tiny clip that relates to news reported this morning in the Times-Picayune (below).  This bombshell was dropped near the end of one of those twenty interviews when this participant offered one final concern about KIPP:

. . . . I think there is a lot of danger, too, in the fact that the charter school systems do not have to report what they do with their funds to anyone. And I don’t, I certainly would not say that I saw, I did not have any want for anything in my classroom. If I wanted a curriculum program or technology, the got it for me. 

But you know we rented out the Hard Rock on a Friday night, the entire Hard Rock and had a complete open bar with any drink that anyone could have wanted for every person who worked in KIPP Houston. And you know I am certainly not saying you shouldn’t celebrate your staff because I think it is important that teachers have an opportunity to celebrate together, but who knows how much that night costs.

Q.: For all of the KIPPs, not just your KIPP?

A: Right. Oh no, just for KIPP Houston.

Q.: So all the KIPPs in Houston?

A: Right. When you think about renting out an entire Hard Rock with an entire open bar, I mean it is astronomical probably what it costs and you know that is a danger for us. You know if I want to see what was spent at ______,_______ where I first taught I can go online and do that. 

And I don’t mean to say in any sense of the word that there was a ridiculous use of money at KIPP, but you know, I think that when you are spending your funds publicly that you think twice, and you may have not rented out the entire Hard Rock and open bar for your teachers. . . .

I am sure, too, that KIPP is wishing that what happened in Las Vegas had stayed in Las Vegas, but there are still a few reporters around who are not intimidated by the KIPP/TFA machine.  From the Times Picayune:
The Algiers Charter School Association, KIPP New Orleans and Friends of King collectively spent nearly one third of $1 million sending their staff outside Louisiana for training, according to a report in The Lens
The three organizations run a total of 17charter schools in New Orleans. In 2012, they enrolled 23 percent of the city's public school students, according to Tulane's Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives. 
KIPP New Orleans had the largest single trip. The organization sent about 185 of its 440 employees to a KIPP national summit in Las Vegas last summer, to the tune of over $133,000. . . 
Your tax dollars at work. 

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