Saturday, June 23, 2007


Find' 'em, use 'em, discard 'em, and then find new ones. And make the kids work the same hours. Forget about dance lessons, music lessons, karate, sports, and everything else that doesn't directly involve test scores. Playtime? Give me a break.

Honestly, they sound worse than the military schools parents used to threaten kids with, and if you consider the majority of their students don't even complete the program, their results are extremely unimpressive. When things look really bad, they simply take their name off the school.

KIPP's largely been presented as the magic pill that will cure all our ills, and it is simply no such thing. But KIPP, and its wannabees, help to explain the very troubling words that came from KIPP-enthusiast Jay Matthews the other day:

Some (innovators) even suggest that school systems should focus on recruiting waves of energetic young teachers, who would spend five or six years in the classroom before moving on, rather than career teachers, who might tire as they grow older.

That sounds like the whole McTeacher thing again, and I'm sorry, but thoughtful people need time to think. How much time do KIPP teachers get?

Students and teachers are in school from 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, for four hours on Saturdays, and for three to four weeks during the summer.

I'm gonna go out on a limb, consider being on call for parents evenings, and say "Not much."

In spite of the long hours, average daily attendance at KIPP Schools is 96%.

If you ignore the fact that most kids stop attending altogether.

Frankly, if you're going to work yourself and your students to death, you ought not to be a role model for my child. I think, though, if you do choose this lifestyle, you ought to be lavishly compensated for it. According to KIPP:

KIPP schools offer a benefits package, which includes an annual salary, medical and dental benefits, and life insurance. Teaching salaries at KIPP schools are comparable to those of traditional public school salaries and include a stipend for the longer school days.

A stipend? How about a number? I mentioned the other day I'm told KIPP has one 100K teacher. For what they ask, 100K ought to be starting salary, and 2 and 300K should be standard for the "senior" 6-year teachers.

But whatever you pay them, don't ask me to send my kid there.
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