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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Houston Chronicle Exemplifies Media Coverage of KIPP

Please do go the Houston Chronicle for a clear example of how corporate media covers research on KIPP. 

Admittedly, the research firm, Mathematica (which collected millions from KIPP sponsors to conduct the study) had its part to play in emphasizing the sunny side for KIPP, Inc., but it remains the journalist's job to tell the whole story, rather than the parts that billionaires want to hear. 

My comments on the Houston Chronicle story at their site:
This article is a great example of how the media treats the billionaire philanthropist school choice for urban children. It is written to spin the Mathematica study to suit the billionaires at Atlantic Philanthropies who paid for the research in 2008. 

Here are a few core findings that you might have presented if reporters chose to report the whole story, rather than the parts that support the agenda of corporate education reformers:

--KIPP's impact, or effect size, on student learning has declined steadily since 2007 as the charter chain has almost tripled in the number of KIPP schools.

--One in four KIPP middle schools had no impact or negative impact on student learning over the 8 years of data collection by Mathematica.

--Of the elementary schools in the study, more than half the schools had marginal impact or no impact at all on achievement.  From the study:

"The impact of KIPP at the elementary school level varies by school. Among the eight KIPP elementary schools we examine, three have positive and statistically significant impacts on at least one measure of academic achievement (Figure III.1). Two additional schools have marginally significant positive impacts on one outcome (p < 0.10). There are no statistically significant impacts in the other three schools. In these schools, the point estimates for one school are positive and the estimates for two schools are negative in both subjects" (p. 25).

--At the KIPP high schools where 70 percent of students come from KIPP middle schools, KIPP provides no added academic benefit when compared to regular public schools.

--Most telling of all, however, is the Mathematica finding that KIPP's brutal and dehumanizing school environments contribute nothing at all at any level to improve student behavior, motivation, aspirations, confidence, grit, effort, self-control, or engagement.  From the study:

"Across grade levels, we generally find no impacts of KIPP schools on measures of students’ motivation, engagement, educational aspirations, or behavior, but positive impacts on the satisfaction of parents with their child’s school. At all three grade levels, KIPP did not significantly affect measures of motivation and engagement related to student self-control, academic motivation, academic confidence, grit, school engagement, or effort in school, including student reports of the time spent on homework" (p. xxii).

We may wonder why the Houston Chronicle chooses to provide the public such a skewed version of the facts.

No comments:

Post a Comment