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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

KIPP Calls for End of Debate and More Disposable Teachers

My response below to Mike Feinberg's op-ed in the Houston Chronicle:

It's that time of year again when thousands of exhausted KIPP Model teachers are anticipating their final teaching days and hoping to recover from the regular traumas of working in "no excuses" charters like KIPP.  In these schools, unsustainable hours, unending paperwork and meetings, impossible discipline and test score expectations, unbearable, unrelieved workloads, total compliance school cultures, autocratic administration, shortages of materials, the absence of textbooks, and an unbending and uncaring organizational hierarchy, all have served once more to push out thousands of teachers after a couple of years of trying to bear the unbearable.

KIPP and its charter chain emulators could not staff their corporate operations without yearly infusions of malleable teacher-missionary beginners from Relay and Teach for America. With the average tenure of KIPP Model teachers being two years, it is not surprising, then, to see Mr. Feinberg's adver-torial aimed to yield another crop of well-meaning neophytes to staff the KIPP Model segregated charter chains.

Nor is it surprising that Mr. Feinberg would advocate an end to debate about the future of privately-run and publicly-funded K-12 schools like KIPP, which embody the zero-tolerance school culture that weeds out the low performers and behavior problems that could damage the KIPP brand.

Debate about the place of segregated no excuses corporate reform schools in a democracy is not going to end, however. Just as the the agenda of the assimilationist and segregative charter schools has been laid bare in my book and others, the racist plan by white philanthropists' to fix the weak work ethic, the defective behaviors, and inferior character traits of black and brown children will continue to be exposed. 

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