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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

KIPP Counts on Teach for America for a Reliable Supply Chain of Expendable Teachers

Teach for America plays a crucial role in providing a never-ending supply of disposable teachers for KIPP and the other corporate welfare charter reform schools that are so popular among the cultural sterilization advocates and the vampires of Wall Street.  In the interview segment below, a survivor of KIPP discusses the ongoing teacher sacrifices to CorpEd's Great Maw.

INT:  Let me ask you this question:  if I were a friend of yours interested in teaching at a KIPP school, and I asked you what was it like there, what would you tell me?

R:  I would say honestly, I’ve had that question before.  I would never ever – I told them I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy.  That’s exactly what I say every time, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.  And I have no enemies, but I wouldn’t wish it if I had an enemy.  I wouldn’t put anyone through that.  Anyone.   It was probably – you give up your life and not only do you give up your life, you’re giving it up for nothing.  It’s not like you’re seeing results.  It’s not like you’re being rewarded appropriately.  I mean there’s no reward for that type of work.  It’s just like you’re being used up and thrown out.  It’s like they’re going to use you up as much as you can take until you realize okay, I’m being used, and then you get out.  My friends quit asking now in _________ --everybody knows what KIPP is like now, so I don’t get that question much anymore.  I have a lot of people who would say they would never go to KIPP, never.  I have a lot of friends that went to KIPP and left.

INT:  When did you realize that you were being used up?

R:  The school leader that I had in 20__ was a very good school leader.  She knew that the pressure was high.  She made you feel a little better.  I believe in 20__ [the following year] they removed her.  They said she was not an effective school leader, and she was.  They removed her and put in a new school leader.  That’s when everything went bad, and she was given total power and I think it went to her head and that’s when I began to feel like I was being used up.  She worked you to the ground.  I mean it was just horrible.  It was horrible.  And you were never allowed to say anything about hey, can I please take a day off or I need a day off.  The previous school leader would say okay, if you need a day off let me know and she would give you one.  And that was just to breathe and run your errands.  You never could run your errands.  Going to the cleaners just doing ordinary things that people do after work, going to the cleaners, going to the doctor, taking dentist appointments, you never had that at KIPP, never.  You don’t have time.

INT:  How did the other teachers response when this school leader in 20__ left?

R:  That’s a very good question.  They were very sad.  Most of the employees that worked with her that we started together in 20__ they left, they quit.  Basically the new school leader hired new teachers.  I never knew any teacher to stay longer than two years.  And that was rare.  The way that those teachers reacted when the new school leader was put in--they quit.  They went on and started doing their own thing.  Most of them were in Teach for America so they either quit Teach for America or they had finished their second year in Teach for America and they went on to med school, law school most of them.  They did their thing.  There were very rare career teachers at KIPP.  They’re just not there.

INT:  Right.  Many Teach for America teachers.

R:  I would say 80 to 90 percent at the school that I was at was Teach for America, absolutely.

INT:  When you say four teachers have nervous breakdowns what do you see?

R:  I’m sorry, what was the last part of that question?

INT:  When you saw this happen in front of your eyes what did you see?  What did you witness?

R:  I saw teachers crying.  I saw them shaking.  Many times in 2010 when they were having problems with one teacher that was having a mental breakdown I would cover her class.  They would ask me to go in there so I would see her leaving and I actually witnessed this woman just unravel.  She was around 25 and I give her advice because I do have a psychology major and I was serving as a counselor also.  I would counsel many teachers into leaving.  I would say look, you know  you’re falling apart.  You’re becoming delusional.  You’re shaking.  You’re crying.  

They would complain of crying daily at night that was very common for a teacher to just cry in front of students, in front of adults.  They were told like go take a break.  This one teacher would just drive around and come back and go right back into the classroom.  She would come out go right back in.  I’m like God, why are you doing this?    And then I saw that happen to four teachers.  And I’m just guessing the number of four--if I really sat down and thought about it, it’s higher than four.  But I can definitely in my mind right now identify four teachers that I saw unravel that had a nervous breakdown and I would just explain it as crying and shaking and talking and not making sense.  Babbling, a lot of babbling.  Asking for help.  Crying.  I felt horrible.  

Some of them, this one that I think of in particular that I saw just completely unravel--her husband would come up to the school.  She would call her husband and he would actually go up there and get her out of the classroom and then that’s when I would come in and we would release her to her husband.  We would not let them leave.  Would not let that teacher drive.  We wouldn’t let her leave the campus without her husband, and this happened about four times, four or five times her husband came in there.

It was very bad.  And having a psychology background I was very familiar with signs of people having a nervous breakdown and what that looked like. . . .

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