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

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Continuing Comments on "A Former KIPP Teacher Shares Her Story"

Published in 2012, "A Former KIPP Teacher Shares Her Story" has been viewed over 111,000 times.  Here are the two most recent comments, especially worth noting now 7 years after the piece was posted…

As the wife of a current KIPP teacher I am pleased, yet saddened to read this as I've watched my husband, a 10 year social studies teacher who previously taught at a school ranked as one of the top in the country by US News & World Report, struggle mightily in his first year. He came to KIPP with such optimism and a strong desire to make a difference in urban ed. All he's been met with is constant criticism, but zero resources and actual lies from his admin. He teaches two grade levels, 7th and 8th, and even though the school has been open 8 years, there was no curriculum. Literally no materials to work with. He has created everything from lesson plans to assessments to state test questions on his own. His 8th graders only have text books, because he secured a donation from his prior school district. Even after all this, he has been told he doesn't seem vested and that his teaching style isn't a fit for succeeding on the rubric. We now completely understand why they've never had a social studies teacher last longer than a year and the last 2 were gone in the middle of the year. I definitely believe there are students benefiting greatly from KIPP's work, but there must be some way to actually support teachers and build a work place suitable for a career. Currently it seems they only want to deal with fresh grads who are easily manipulated. They can suck the life out of them for a couple of years and start over again.
Anonymous1:11 PM
I was a long-term sub at a KIPP school in California. Although they had positions open and I was encouraged to apply, I never did. The school could be best described as a shabbily run prison. The principal was far too young and inexperienced to be running anything of such vital importance, and this was reflected in how he dealt with the students. He was condescending, hyper-critical, insulting, and just plain mean. It was apparent that his interest in the position ended with his own administrative ambitions and that the students were merely obstacles on that path. To address your comment that some students seem to be benefiting from the KIPP model, I can tell you that the few students I observed who seemed to be doing well with the endless crush of meaningless busy-work that defines the KIPP curriculum and the constant beratement and humiliation dished-out by administrators and some teachers would likely do well under any conditions. These kids obviously came to KIPP with strong executive function skills and cognitive ability... they certainly didn't learn them after arriving. It was heartbreaking to watch... simply because these hard-working, intelligent kids were blinded to the bigger picture by their own poverty, I doubt they realized that they would do well in a school that uncovered, then nurtured and developed their aptitudes and abilities to their fullest potential. Instead, with each day at KIPP, they became more and more institutionalized; incapable of novel or creative thought, out-of-touch with their own emotional lives, and utterly convinced that this was the best opportunity available to someone of their socioeconomic class. KIPP is the complete antithesis of everything education should be, and it in no way works in concert with how human beings learn (through relationships).

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