Educators versus Editors, the KIPP school

The Times
Union does an annual puff piece about the KIPP charter school, I kid you not google it.
Once a year they do an editorial that says KIPP Jacksonville is the best thing
since sliced bread, thier last one was on January 17th.
With all their accolades there was a few things
they didn’t mention. Most notably the KIPP school grades go more up and down
than a yo yo. they were a B this year but the school’s history is littered with Ds and Fs as well/ They also didn’t mention that they spend about a third more per
child, their school day and school year is longer, and they are allowed to
require involvement from parents. I submit that is any public non charter
school had these benefits they would blow KIPP out of the water, but I am not
even done describing the KIPP schools deficits.     
They have experienced massive teacher turnover, both
because they employ a lot of Teach for America teachers, and because most teachers won’t put up for long with the requirements KIPP puts on them.
Finally most people don’t know it but the Jacksonville Children’s Commission
which up to this year had just funded after school programs, now funds part of
their actual school day. How they can justify this is beyond me.   
Now please don’t take my word for all this,
instead take into account what educators in Miami have said recently as they
are in the early stages of opening up a KIPP there. This is from LRN Miami,
the NPR station down there.
A national charter school chain that focuses on preparing disadvantaged
kids for college is poised to open a new location in Miami’s Liberty City
neighborhood this fall.
But before plans for the new school could move forward, the San
Francisco-based KIPP Foundation first had to overcome local leaders’ concerns
about the network’s lackluster performance in Jacksonville,  the only
other place in Florida where it has established a presence.
Miami-Dade
County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and members of the school
board needed convincing that a KIPP location in Miami would mirror the
network’s success in other places, not its struggles in Jacksonville.
“My
expectation for KIPP Miami is one that needs to be wildly different from what
we have seen in Jacksonville,” Carvalho said.
That’s pretty damning if you ask me. What does
the superintendent of Miami’s schools know what the editors of the Times
Union don’t. Well for one they don’t have rose colored glasses on for
whatever local businessman Gary Chartrand, who brought KIPP to town,
supports. A few months back during their annual Teach for America editorial is
the greatest thing since sliced bed editorial, they heaped praise on TFA
including saying: 
Teach for America has another big advantage for the district. It has the
support of some of the city’s major philanthropists like Gary Chartrand.
Through their foundation, Chartrand and
his family have spent large amounts of time and funds to help public schools.
That some criticize these efforts
proves the adage that “no good deed shall go unpunished.”
In my opinion, because TFA takes non education majors
puts them through a six week access course and then puts into our neediest
schools where they are supposed to serve just two years, assuring our most
vulnerable students have an ever revolving door of novice teachers, or the
exact opposite of what we know they need, this is not a good deed, but since I am not
a millionaire, the Times Union is usually uninterested in what I have to say.

During the editorial about TFA they also didn’t
mention how expensive the program is as the Quality Education for All
initiative has sent millions to the local branch that will never see a
classroom, but that’s what the Times Union often does when it talks about
education.

They cherry pick facts and dismiss uncomfortable
points.

I could also talk about their love affair with our
past superintendent, something most teachers find inexplicable and their pushing
the business community to butt into the search for a replacement, but I fear
this has already gotten wrong.


Are there good things going on at the KIPP school? Well where its not where I would send my kids if I had them nor is it the type of school that the city’s elites would want for their children. I acknowledge that many of the families that send children their like appreciate it. That being said, it’ is a long way from being the best thing since sliced bread.

The bottom line is the Times Union’s editorial page is
often on the wrong side of education issues which does a disservice to our,
teachers, families and schools and is a shame because public education can use
all the help it can get.

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