KIPP’s 109 college-preparatory elementary, middle, and high schools are considered by many to be the gold standard of the charter school movement. KIPP’s schools and founders have been featured (usually in a glowingly positive light) in every major publication imaginable from the New York Times, to USA Today, to Time Magazine. Even Oprah has done a special on them highlighting the many positive things that KIPP has done and continues to do for students from majority-minority, economically disadvantaged communities.
As a former employee, I know that this is true but I also know that there is a bevy of stories that you’ll rarely hear about KIPP schools and the mental health issues students face (some related to school and some not), the violent acts engaged in by students, and the frustrations that teachers have with constant over-work. The two videos below show two contrasting views of KIPP.
In the video above you see the standard of KIPP and comparable charter schools: cute, colored kids playing; teachers talking about how amazing the school is; information about behavior accountability, etc. Things that get funders all hot and bothered.
In this second video you see actual, candid footage of a KIPP high school hallway. Quite different from the first, highly scripted video. Less structure, what appears to be a teacher giving directions and being ignored, students on the side of the hallway gossiping. Regular high school stuff. Egregious KIPP behavior.
Gotta see both sides sometimes.
If I’ve learned anything while being a students at teacher at the “best” schools in the nation and the “worst,” no institution is all great. No institution is all bad. There are some $35,000/year elite, private high schools in the nation where drugs are more widespread than the inner-city, STDs are passed like a lacrosse ball, and students’ self-concepts are being ravaged by parents who live far away and just send money. Don’t be fooled by the press and simple stats. There’s very little “black and white” in education. Just various shades of grey.blog comments powered by Disqus