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

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Details of Allegations Against KIPP's Mike Feinberg

Do you remember Christine Blasey Ford's emotional and riveting testimony related to her decades-old sexual assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, when he was a drunk, horny punk who enjoyed terrorizing and humiliating females? If you do, you're likely to remember, too, that institutional sexism functioned as it always has: it maligned the female victim of abuse so that the male perpetrator would never be held accountable for his criminal violence and cruelty.

You may remember, too, that Blasey Ford is a highly-regarded white middle class professional, whose testimony lacked only vital criterion required to establish its veracity: maleness.

Now picture what it must be like for a working class non-white female to go up against a privileged middle class male hero of the white male establishment, this time in a Southern state where discrimination and racism are even more systemic than in Washington, DC. 

This is what happened in April when a former KIPP student and her mother testified before two administrative law judges in Texas about a sexual assault that occurred twenty years ago when she was an 11-year old Mexican-American girl at Mike Feinberg's Houston KIPP middle school.

And even though Wilmer-Hale, the prestigious DC law firm hired by KIPP in 2017 to investigate the allegations, "found the alleged victim to be credible," the Texas judges have now concluded that they will recommend to the Texas Education Agency that the victim failed to "meet its burden to prove any such allegations," and that Feinberg, then, should retain his teaching license.

Here is the summary of the main allegation against Feinberg, who was defended during the hearing by some of the best defense attorneys money can buy.
As the factual bases for the present disciplinary action, Staff has accused Respondent of sexually abusing Student 1 during two incidents that would have occurred during the spring of 1999. At that time, Student 1 was completing the second of two years that she spent in KIPP Academy’s fifth grade while Respondent was serving as the school’s principal and as a teacher. In the first incident, according to Staff’s pleadings, Respondent “took [Student 1] into his officeat the school, ostensibly to conduct a “yearly check-up,” and then proceeded to reach under her shirt and run his fingers between her breasts and also along her back. The second incident allegedly occurred “[a] week or two later,” when Respondent “took [Student 1] back to his office,” this time under the pretense that he had “lost the file” from the earlier “check-up” and “would have to redo the exam.” Then, according to Staff, “Respondent asked [Student 1] to remove her clothing from the waist down,” “had [Student 1] sit on the desk and spread her legs,” then “approache[d] her with a Q-tip and inserted it into [her] vagina for a few seconds.”
The Texas judges did not hear the two charges against Feinberg's for sexual harassment against KIPP employees, and they did not hear allegations that Feinberg used KIPP computers to access porn.

It is be up to the State Board of Educator Certification to make the final call on whether or not Feinberg will keep his provisional middle school teaching license that he qualified for during his two year stint as a TFA recruit in the early 1990s.

Feinberg's lawsuit against KIPP, Inc. for defamation was dismissed earlier this year.

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