Sunday, January 21, 2007
Not to beat a dead horse, but . . .
Couple more thoughts on KIPP and decreasing enrollments.
1) The most sure-fire strategy to improve scores at your school is to decrease enrollments. All the push-outs in Florida and New York City can tell you that. NOTE - these students do not drop out. They are "counseled out," according to some, pushed out according to others. What's at stake are high-stakes test scores. So a few kids' lives get ruined. Collateral damage on the road to closing the achievement gap.
2) If the SRI reports about KIPP and creaming are to be believed, then one very bizarre and incredibly twisted conclusion about KIPP is revealed: KIPP, with its 10-hour days, class on Saturdays, and extra month in the summer might be designed simply to push kids out, to break them, to leave only "the strong and the deserving." And who are the strong and the deserving kids? As the creaming stories and data emerge, we see a correlation between the already high-achieving students who are recruited or attracted to KIPP and KIPP graduates. Put simply, KIPP may not actually do anything to improve the academic achievement of its already-successful students. Rather, it makes way for them by clearing out all those who are less deserving, the detritus who get in the way of those impressive-looking test scores. It may very well be that KIPP, with its chanting and clapping and extraordinary success story, is simply a kind of academic obstacle course, an amusing yet ineffective gimmick.