I'm always amazed at the volume of talk about charter schools. Jay Matthews, cheerleader extraordinaire, can't get through a hundred words without demanding every sentient being on God's green earth enroll in a charter school immediately. So imagine my shock when I read this article, from San Franciso Education Examiner Caroline Grannan:
It seems to be getting little public attention that the principal of the KIPP school in Fresno has resigned after a lengthy school district report accused him of:
... slamming students against the wall, placing trash cans over their heads, forcing kids to crawl on their hands and knees while barking, and enforcing unreasonably strict bathroom rules, resulting in students having accidents and vomiting on themselves inside the classroom.
Wait a minute. I thought over at KIPP, principals walked on water. Isn't that what Jay said? It sounds like this guy treads on the kids, the ones charter supporters care so much about. They must be horrified by these accusations. Here's a comment Caroline received:
Mr. Tschang resigned because the last thing he wanted to happen was the school to close. Fresno Unified School District demanded Mr. Tschang's resignation. It would not have rechartered the school, otherwise. The good news is that KIPP Academy Fresno is the product of the work of hundreds of parents, teachers, and most importantly, students who will continue to bring the school the new heights of academic and character achievement.
He sounds like an admirable human being. I can't wait to see what new things the folks who brought us this principal have in store for those lucky kids. Personally, I wouldn't send my kid to KIPP on a bet, because I don't believe she needs to spend 200 hours a week in school, even if it gets her an extra point on some standardized test.
Would you take a chance on this guy with your kid? And if you were innocent, would you step down rather than face these charges?
Student (name deleted) said that in December of 2007, Mr. Tschang told him to get on his hands and knees and bark like a dog. (Name deleted) said it was a metaphor to get him to stop joking around in class.
… It was reported by Kim Kutzner that students who were late to school would not be allowed to eat their meals provided by the state. Student (name deleted) stated that Mr. Tschang told her, “People who are late don’t get to eat.”
… Parent (name deleted) reported that Mr. Tschang took student (name deleted) glasses away from him because (name deleted) was constantly adjusting his glasses. (Name deleted) is totally dependent on his glasses and cannot see without them. Mr. Tschang admitted to taking (name deleted) glasses away.
Never mind that kids who leave KIPP are not replaced, or that their statistics depend on those who remain, or the fact that all KIPP kids have parents willing to volunteer at school and have their kids go to class 200 hours a week.
If Jay Matthews says that KIPP serves the same kids public schools do, it must be true.