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KIPP is one of the charter school franchises that’s been tossed around in Seattle by ed reformers as an option if charter schools were to be legalized in our state. I’ve been following KIPP and several articles that I have come across are listed in the right column of this blog under “KIPP”. It could possibly be the worst example of a school experience a child could have but they do market well.
I was reading a post by Leonie Haimson that is well worth a read “At KIPP, I would wake up sick, every single day”. The post is an interview that Leonie had with a former KIPP parent and the parent’s daughter who was a student attending KIPP.
At the end of the post was the following comment written by a former KIPP teacher that I wanted to share with you today:
I was a teacher at a KIPP school for 1 /1/2 years. (Not in NYC) It was the most horrible experience of my life. The teachers and students are literally in school for 11 hours a day. You basically have no personal life as it is all about KIPP. The school has a cult like mentality with chants, rituals, and an obsessive focus on “being nice, work hard, get into college”. I saw numerous teachers experience nervous breakdowns from the extreme pressure and harassment of administration. There was a 50% turnover for staff each year. They made me chaperone a week long trip to another city to visit colleges. I had to sleep in the same room as the students. (They do NOT pay anywhere near what would be expected from a district school.) KIPP also made me go door to door in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods on the city that I worked in to recruit students. The most crazy thing I witnessed was at a KIPP summer seminar that had KIPP teachers from throughout the United States present. One of the main speakers asked the audience of KIPP teachers to stand up if they were first year teachers. About 30% of the audience stood up. Then they asked teachers with 2-5 years of experience to stand up. At that time 60% of the teachers stood up. Then they asked teachers with 5-10 years experience to stand up and 10% stood up. Then they asked teachers with more than 10 years of experience to stand up. At that time I WAS STANDING WITH 2 OTHER TEACHERS OUT OF AN AUDIENCE OF 500 TEACHERS!
This is why TFA, Inc. has come to town in our fair city, in anticipation of populating these charter schools. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen, charter schools that is.