Saturday, November 20, 2010

KIPP Reform Schools--Teacher Sweat Shops

KIPP schools are often touted as an example of how a well-designed school full of dedicated true-believer educators can trump race and class and get low income students to succeed. This is, of course, an Ed Deform fantasy. 60% of the 5th graders in Oakland, California, KIPP schools didn’t even make it to the 8th grade. Parents must sign contracts and commit to KIPP’s draconian policies on discipline and homework, a policy that results in the exclusion of those low income students who would be most likely to fail in any school environment. Those who make it into KIPP, but who fail to meet KIPP’s high standards, are quietly pushed out, thus helping to pad KIPP’s “impressive” stats.

KIPP schools typically require their non-unionized teachers to work 65 hours per week, including mandatory Saturdays and summers. Teachers are expected to be on call at home in the evenings to help students with homework. Not surprisingly, teacher attrition is high. 

KIPP schools would likely have all gone under years ago if it weren’t for the copious backing by deep pocket charter cheerleaders like Fishers, Waltons, Broads and Gates.

For a more detailed look at KIPP, check out Schools Matter’s recent 3 part series on KIPP. Learning About KIPP: Lesson 1,  Learning About KIPP: Lesson 2, Kipp Crusaders and Learning About KIPP: Lesson 3, Social Justice in Blackface.


  1. Sweat shops for students and teachers, both.

    Then there's the incestuous overlap between KIPP, TFA and the whole corporate/foundation/charter school complex. For one example, Richard Barth, a KIPP Director, is Wendy Kopp's husband, sits on the board of Eli Broad's Leadership Academy, and formerly worked at Edison Schools.

    It's an ed deform trifecta!

  2. Thanks, Michael. You hit the hammer on the head.