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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Nashville Mayor Comes Out Swinging for More Segregated KIPPs

Mayor Karl Dean has been a private and public patron of KIPP, Inc. over the years.  In 2012, Dean committed almost 25 percent of Metro's 4-year school improvement budget to one KIPP school.  

Today Dean has an op-ed in the Tennessean decrying the courageous vote by Metro school board to say NO to more KIPPs in Nashville.

My comments following Dean's angry op-ed:
Jim Horn ·
KIPP, Inc.'s Mr Dowell is part of a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to show only the high test scores and smiling faces at KIPP. Obviously, Mr. Dean is a part of that campaign.

What the KIPP Foundation or the media never present are the dehumanized segregated children, Amazonian working conditions for teachers, and the marginalized parents whose voices are squelched beneath KIPP's PR wheel.

The public never hears about 100 children packed into classrooms for a week sitting on the floor until they are KIPPnotized, and the Mr. Dean probably never heard about problem students who are sent to the b
asement of the school when VIPs are in the building. Links here:


And parents have never heard, I am sure, about KIPP principals sitting on children to restrain them, as a former KIPP teacher recounted to me two nights ago. A clip from her audio transcript:

"Q: . . . who are the people who are doing the restraining, and what did it look like?

A: It happened any time a child was so out of control behaviorally. Um, I don't actually know what their measure was for restraining a child because sometimes they would let a child destroy a classroom and just walk around, and other times, in my mind, [restraint was used] for a behavior that was more minor in terms of an infraction, but they would restrain them. So I have no idea what it was for, but a lot of times it was used if a child tried to hit or hurt the dean or the principal, which is funny, not funny, but a little ironic because these children who were having these behavioral issues would hurt the teachers, and we could do nothing.

But when the child started to attack the Dean or the Principal, they were able to defend themselves. So they would take the student by their wrists and cross them in front of their chests, and a lot of times they would be sitting on the ground, and they would put their legs on top of the child, so if you can imagine, the adult is sitting with their legs open, the child is sitting up against them, their arms are crossed like a pretzel over them, [the administrators'] legs are on top of the child, and just kind of sitting there holding them and the child thrashing, saying, "let go of me, you are hurting me."
And they would say, "if I let you go, will you sit nicely, will you calm down," or, "if you just sit nicely, it won't hurt--you are hurting yourself.""

Mr. Dean probably doesn't even know what researchers found out a long time ago: KIPPs weed out their low performers (40-60 percent leave KIPP between 5th and 8th grade), and KIPPs have fewer English language learners and special needs children. Mr. Dean probably doesn't know, either, that the KIPPster's job is to produce test scores that protect the KIPP brand, while remaining totally compliant in apartheid environments. 

Metro school board members took a courageous stand to stand up for community schools, to acknowledge the dehumanizing school environments at KIPP and other No Excuses" testing chain gangs, and to save $10K per year per child for Metro taxpayers to use to create more diverse and humane schools that have public oversight.

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