Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1984

How do they do it, those folks at KIPP? I mean, how do they achieve such amazing success with the kids (at least the ones who don't drop out of the schools they don't take their names off)?

Well, here's a comment, from a KIPP student:

I am a KIPP student from Oklahoma and KIPP is "GREAT".Ilove it very much.That I will go around the United States just to find a KIPP college.

Makes ya wanna pack up yer kids and send 'em, doesn't it? But the next comment, from a former teacher, goes into just a little more detail:
The Human Brain, regardless of aptitude, statistically learns best through repitition. Doing things over and over and over again until it becomes ROTE (like muscle memory for an athlete or Instrument Position for a Musician). KIPP Teachers all teach with the "No Child Left Behind" morality. This means that for the most part, students who have mastered their Multiplication Tables or can easily identify Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives, do not continue with their specified curriculum, and ultimate year-end outcome until THE WHOLE CLASS or at least the MAJORITY of the (*usually) 30 students have ALL mastered the skill at hand.

• In order for that to occur at KIPP Schools, unlike Public Schools, students are provided with AMPLE opportunity in terms of "seat time." By the end of October each school year, KIPP students have already put in as many hours as Public School students do FOR THE ENTIRE SCHOOL YEAR. (*Taking into account KIPP's 2 week Summer School Session, and mandatory every-other Saturday morning School)

Well, you certainly won't leave anyone behind that way. Hopefully, you're not one of those kids who catches on quick and needs to sit through the rest of it. But it's all for everyone, kinda like a communist re-education camp (and I'm told they were often quite effective).

Despite that, this teacher remains distinctly unenthusiastic:

KIPP students do very well ... but ... it is due to REPITION and ROTE LEARNING. OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER ... (get it?...ok, once more...OVER AND OVER AND OVER....)

• Children will only be children ONCE. KIPP students are college-bound...so...after going to school for 55+ hours a week IN THE FIFTH GRADE, they can look forward to school for AT LEAST another TEN YEARS. (55hrs/week x School year...FOR TEN YEARS. Besides....didn't we learn anything from CHILD LABOR LAWS?!

My kid isn't perfect, and does not get straight As. But I adore her for what she is. I wouldn't dream of sending her to a place like this. Still, KIPP, and its various emulators are not really about the kids. As my buddy, reality-based educator, pointed out, they're about getting people used to working 200-hour weeks. They're about getting working people to give up any shot at personal lives. They're about worsening working conditions, and shedding crocodile tears for the children.

But the children will grow up, and when they do, I don't want them to be wage slaves. There's just no reason we need to treat one another like that. Make no mistake about it--teaching is one of the very last bastions of unionism in these United States. There's nothing some people would like better than to crush us.

But our kids will then grow up without the benefits of unions, at the mercy of their bosses, with few or no alternatives. If we love our kids, we have to protect them. We have to stand up, say we aren't slaves, we won't be slaves, and our kids won't be either.

It's tough to make kids just say no to sex and drugs. But we're supposedly wiser than they.

Let's just say no to the degradation and destruction of our calling. We're not robots, we don't aspire to be robots, and neither should our children.

Thanks to California Teacher Guy

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