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Allegedly abusive Fresno KIPP principal quits; students protest departure

It seems to be getting little public attention that the principal of the KIPP school in Fresno has resigned after a lengthy school district report accused him of:

... slamming students against the wall, placing trash cans over their heads, forcing kids to crawl on their hands and knees while barking, and enforcing unreasonably strict bathroom rules, resulting in students having accidents and vomiting on themselves inside the classroom.

In keeping with the typical press swooning over the national charter-school chain, the  press accounts  (so far all very short and local to Fresno) mostly lead with the student protests calling on the principal, Chi Tschang, to stay in the job. The lead from KPMH Fox Ch. 26:  

Students and parents lined the streets outside the KIPP Academy in Fresno, outraged over the recent and sudden resignation of their principal Mr. Chi Tsichang (sic).

If I were a journalist covering the protests, I think I would be asking a few more questions than the Fresno press seems inclined to about these students' support for the principal. 

KIPP is getting extra attention right now because of the publication of a high-profile new book about it, Work Hard. Be Nice. by Washington Post/Newsweek education columnist Jay Mathews, the nation's most visible education journalist and an unabashed KIPP enthusiast.

The Post itself has quite an   intelligent review   of Mathews' book, actually in tomorrow's paper, by education researcher/author Richard D. Kahlenberg. The excerpt below struck me as particularly perceptive, especially compared to the unquestioning cheerleading KIPP generally gets in the press. Yet the description of the alleged abuse by the Fresno KIPP principal does belie the notion that KIPP schools are anything like middle-class schools.

KIPP schools more closely resemble middle-class than high-poverty public schools. KIPP does not educate the typical low-income student but rather a subset fortunate enough to have striving parents who take the initiative to apply to a KIPP school and sign a contract agreeing to read to their children at night. More important, among those who attend KIPP, 60 percent leave, according to a new study of California schools, many because they find the program too rigorous. As KIPP's reputation grew, it could select among the best teachers (who wish to be around high-performing colleagues), and it became funded at levels more like those of middle-class schools.

Comments

  • Ruth 5 years ago

    Perhaps there is some truth to those who say that KIPP stands for-Kids In Prison Program.

  • ivyalumna 5 years ago

    Although at first glance, it might seem to an uninformed observer that Tschang is "abusive", a close and critical examination of the report published by the Fresno Unified School District will reveal that it is a laughably unprofessional document full of hearsay. In fact, the FUSD has admitted that the report contains false testimonials and factual errors. Instead of criticizing Tschang and KIPP Academy Fresno, it seems that the focus should be on the myriad problems in FUSD schools.

  • zara 5 years ago

    This isn't the first time a story like this has come out of the KIPP franchise. Disgusting. When will people start waking up?

  • NYC Educator 5 years ago

    Odd this principal should resign on the basis of a "laughingly unprofessional document full of hearsay." Also, Jay Matthews says it's a myth that KIPP avoids scrutiny, so I'm a little surprised to see one of its supporters saying we ought not to criticize it, and then trying to change the subject.

  • Ivyalumna 5 years ago

    Mr. Tschang did not resign due to the allegations- he resigned to ensure the school could continue to operate. That was one of FUSD's conditions as detailed in the report.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    ivyalumna, just out of curiosity -- any report based on accounts of participants and eyewitnesses is "hearsay" by definition. What kind of research would you accept as not being "hearsay"? I'm envisioning secret KIPPcams, perhaps?

  • IvyAlumna 5 years ago

    Caroline- I think that for an eyewitness account to be anything more than hearsay, it needs to at a bare minimum meet these three requirements: 1) it should come from a trustworthy and unbiased source, 2) it should have been confirmed by multiple sources and witnesses, and 3) there should have be some cross-examination or rebuttal from the accused party included. This is not the case with the FUSD report. I'm not saying that KIPP and Tschang are 100% innocent, but I will maintain that this report which the FUSD proports to be factual is in fact not.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    I assume you have some inside knowledge, IvyAlumna, and obviously you disagree with the substance of the report. Fair enough. But your criteria are not realistic.

    Oh, and first of all, Mr. Tschang's responses ARE included throughout the report.

    But regarding your criterion No. 1: How does one define a "trustworthy and unbiased source"? Who is the final arbiter on whether the source is "trustworthy and unbiased"?

    Also, anyone who had allegedly been slammed against a wall would presumably have a bias against the person who did the alleged slamming. So then the alleged slammee would have no credibility as a source, by your standards. Anybody who WITNESSED an alleged slamming of a child against a wall would likely have a bias, so that person is out too. Who would be left?

    Also by your standards, a child (for example) who had been abused with no witnesses present would have no credibility if he/she revealed the abuse, since your criteria require multiple sources and witnesses.

    The implications of your criteria are pretty chilling. I don't think you thought them through very thoroughly.

  • IvyAlumna 5 years ago

    Thank you for the lesson on arbitration and argumentation. I can only hope that you and your readers bring that same level of critical thinking to everything you read. I suppose the final arbiter on whether or not a source is trustworthy and unbiased would have to be a judge in a legal court. Perhaps we shall find out if Tschang takes action against the district for defamation.

  • Parent 5 years ago

    Or perhaps we'll find out when one of the families of the students this man (allegedly) abused takes action against him for assault.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    But the rule that the alleged victims and the witnesses must all be deemed "trustworthy and unbiased" is a rule that you alone invented, IvyAlumna, so there's no reason a judge would be making that determination at all.

    If the principal does sue the district for defamation, it will certain put to rest forever the notion (already a mistaken notion in my opinion) that charter schools have any accountability at all. They truly would be officially answerable to no one.

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    Hello Caroline, Mr. Tschang resigned because the last thing he wanted to happen was the school to close. Fresno Unified School District demanded Mr. Tschang's resignation. It would not have rechartered the school, otherwise. The good news is that KIPP Academy Fresno is the product of the work of hundreds of parents, teachers, and most importantly, students who will continue to bring the school the new heights of academic and character achievement.

    I actually believe that the best thing that could happen for KIPP Academy Fresno is if the students supporting Mr. Tschang are given the air time you call for. They will not only give very different accounts of the alleged abuses, they will also eloquently explain just how KIPP changed their lives. I want reporters to go to KIPP Academy Fresno and just observe for the whole day, a whole week if necessary to remove the observer effect, then go to nearby Wilson Elementary School and see the difference. KIPP Academy Fresno has always had an open door policy where any parent or community observer can see the school as long as they are not disrupting the learning. This call for Mr. Tschang's resignation may have even been aborted if the district officials who made the decision had done exactly that, actually gone to the school and gotten to know it.

    There is a lot to be changed in the California charter school system, problems with accountability being one of them. After all, FUSD has multiple charter schools, but not all are high-performing. The problem here is that the chartering authority, the district, is also in direct competition with charters for students. This sheds question on the report's reported impartiality. I applaud your skepticism of charter schools, we need voices from all pats of the spectrum, but KIPP Academy Fresno is nothing but a supportive environment for its students and an example, not of needed accountability, but of excellence.

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    *parts

  • Maria 5 years ago

    KIPP schools are definiely not perfect for everyone and that is the reason they are called "schools of choice". Just like college, you choose to be there if you can hack it and want to get ahead. It's true that KIPP schools use "tough love" in that they have real conversations with students, teach character lessons that parents neglect teaching at home, and punish them (within the parameters of the law!). I have worked at KIPP for 4 years and personally know every person cited in the report. Let me tell you, not the most trustworthy or impartial of sources. I would not be so quick to defend. They are all parents who left on bad terms (i.e. had kids who were asked to leave--they, parents and students, sign a contract to commit and, if they "repeatedly fail" to adhere to the commitments, they leave--or are usually angry about grades or embarrassed that their students have not been treated like kings and queens)or teachers who left on negative terms or did not have their contracts renewed. If the Bee came after me, I would tell them ALL they want to know about each and every incident. If families want to leave, we don't stop them. They can "enjoy" the failing Fresno schools were, I promise you, no one is respected. The District told the school that it would not issue a letter of good standing (necessary for the school to collect the $5 mil award from the state it earned) nor renew its charter if Mr. Tschang did not resign. He didn't care about the report--none of us do. We know these parents and that their allegations are gross exaggerations, distortions of the truth, or completely taken out of context. The District, furthermore, told all of us to keep quiet about this "deal" or it would tarnish the school's name in addition to the principal's AND refuse to send out the letter or renew the charter. That's what I call blackmail! Look, the most inspiring leaders with the best characters usually have the most enemies. Maybe as a result of jealousy, competitive streaks, etc... It's no surprise that the District hates KIPP when it has taken so many kids that have been viewed by the FUSD as "pointless cases" as they never thought they could go to college or amount to anything until they began at KIPP; when almost all of Fresno Unified's schools are failing and inundated with gangs, drugs, and pregnant adolescents.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    Well, this part of your comment is interesting, Maria, since KIPP officially denies that this happens:

    They are all parents who left on bad terms (i.e. had kids who were asked to leave--they, parents and students, sign a contract to commit and, if they "repeatedly fail" to adhere to the commitments, they leave

    When the sky-high attrition at KIPP schools came to light, KIPP officials insisted that they don't ever push any students out. Hmm...

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    Sky-high attrition...as compared to what? There's natural attrition that takes place at any school. The fact that KIPP school demands more of any student - longer hours and higher behavioral expectations - would almost lead an outside observer to predict higher attrition. Fact: 15% of students move to a different school from September - June at KIPP Fresno. Considering it graduated 100% of its students to top-tier schools, I consider that impressive. Jack O'Connell also awarded the school the Title I Distinguished School award. Fact #2: Even with sky high attrition, the percentage that do graduate and go to college is still higher than the surrounding area (if you do your research, FUSD public schools send 7% of their kids to college)

    To your earlier point:
    "But the rule that the alleged victims and the witnesses must all be deemed "trustworthy and unbiased" is a rule that you alone invented, IvyAlumna, so there's no reason a judge would be making that determination at all."

    Seriously? Which court do you know that accepts quotations without corroboration as evidence? That's insane! Isn't the purpose of cross-examination to poke holes at the credibility of a witness?

    To your point on accountability, the school leader is accountable to its board. The link between suing the District for defamation and zero accountability is such a weak one. Let the court decide whether this report is valid or not. Who said the District can say whatever it feels like and not be accountable?

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    NYC educator - criticize and scrutinize the schools all you want. Let's just make two things very clear: #1: stories and allegations are not facts and #2: scrutinize public schools with the same amount of detail and thoroughness that you do with successful charter schools.

  • FACT 5 years ago

    Caroline, one more point...
    If all the allegations were in fact true and FUSD knew about it, why the heck did it take 5 years for them to pull Mr. Tschang out? In the past, they pull their own principals out immediately when serious allegations are made. They are put on administrative leave until further notice.

    Also, if you watched the news, you should see throngs of students and parents in support of the principal? Do you really think he would get that type of support if he was as bad as the report made him out to be? Hmm...

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    I have no way of knowing how accurate the allegations are or why it took the Fresno district so long. But a few points in response to specific comments:

    1. I would have no way of knowing why the principal would get so much support if the allegations are true. But I've known lots of school administrators of varying degrees of competence, and in none of their cases can I remotely imagine dozens of people popping up to fabricate wildly inventive accounts of physical abuse. So it's a mystery.

    2. As I've explained many times before, there is high turnover (officially called "mobility") in basically all schools serving high-poverty populations. The difference is that KIPP schools DO NOT REPLACE the students who leave, while traditional public schools do. So KIPP schools wind up with the lower performers/students who couldn't live up to expectations simply gone, and a streamlined class consisting entirely of the few students who COULD live up to expectations. Other schools replace the students who leave with other likely high-mobility students, meaning that they're similarly likely to be academically challenged. SO that's a huge difference. KIPP schools' 8th grades tend to be far, far smaller than their 5th grades for this reason.

    3. Obviously any witness must be "trustworthy" to be credible, but "unbiased" is an absurdly impossible standard to impose. No judge could or would even think of imposing it. Obviously, that would rule out any victim and most witnesses; the entire justice system would grind to a halt.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    1) FUSD took so long because they couldn't corroborate their "facts." The fact that so many people support the school - parents, children, and community members alike - implies that it's not the terrible place that the media's making it out to be. FUSD itself has admitted to mistakes in the report. At what other school would you get the same type of support?

    2) I don't know if you've studied KIPP for 3 years, but here's a report of findings from a 3-year study commissioned by the Hewitt Foundation, an independent party to KIPP:

    "KIPP charter schools in the Bay Area don’t “cream” students from the surrounding neighborhoods, and most significantly outperform surrounding district schools on the state’s standardized tests. KIPP schools aren’t immune from the problems facing urban districts, including student attrition and teacher turnover, but school districts can learn from their achievements.

    That’s the gist of a three-year study , commissioned by the Hewlett Foundation, of the much heralded and sometimes unfairly criticized charter middle schools."

    3) You can be biased, but you need to stick to the facts. Michael Hanson cannot go in front of his Board and say, "FACT: KIPP currently does not fingerprint its employees, report sexual abuse, etc." and just assume that the preface of his statement with the word FACT absolutely makes it so.

    I agree that KIPP has problems that need to be solved. However, if you've been following the press coverage, you would hear numerous stories of students and families that have benefited from the program.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    Caroline - You also know that children and parents who are expelled from the school tend to embellish their stories. More than 90% of the sources in their investigative report, according to the news, were from sources that were asked to leave. Would they say things that are entirely accurate or would they blow it out of proportion and paint it in the worst light possible? That seems like common sense to me.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    But "alastingwill," you and the other KIPP sources are contradicting each other, because other KIPP supporters and insiders say students are NOT "asked to leave" KIPP. Now you're saying that 90% of those dozens of sources are children or parents of children who were expelled from the KIPP school. So which is it?

    I'm familiar with the Hewlett Foundation study, which concluded that 60% of students leave Bay Area KIPP schools without completing the program.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    90% are no longer present at KIPP Fresno was the point. From talking to their administration, expulsion is a last option because it stays on a student's permanent record. So, students that are about to get expelled are given the option of voluntarily dropping from the school. It's not a contradiction. The point is that 90% + of the people in the report left on unfavorable terms. Therefore, what they claim are facts when they share their experience is like the child that embellishes the story to make something look bad. You, as a critical writer and thinker, should know better than to accept everything you read as fact.

    The Hewitt Foundation study like I quoted claims that we do not "cream" students. It also says that the other schools in the neighborhood have high mobility. That disproves your earlier point that we replace poor performing kids with higher kids.

    Can you quantifiably justify that the average retention of public school students from 5th - 8th grade is significantly lower than 60%, and that the students that are being replaced are at or below the quality of students that left? If not, then I think you are unfairly criticizing the KIPP program.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    It most certainly is a contradiction, alastingwill. KIPP spokespeople and supporters resolutely insist that almost no students are ever pushed out.

    Also, note the discussion on the adjacent post about this issue, in which your fellow KIPP supporter is quoting KIPP's own website in explaining how KIPP creams students.

    You're either misunderstanding or misrepresenting my point. I didn't say you replace "poor-performing kids with higher kids." I said that you do not replace the students who are pushed out or otherwise leave, while traditional public schools do replace high-mobility kids who leave with other high-mobility kids who arrive.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    What is especially frustrating in discussions with you Caroline, is that you quote bloggers that comment while I quote 3 year studies and facts. You're about as good as the investigative reporter who takes quotes at random and use them to support your point. You also miss out on the main point of what is being said, namely that 90% left on unfavorable terms. At KIPP "voluntarily leave" is a notch below "expulsion" in most cases, as I explained in my prior post; KIPP does that to allow the child to save face and not have that on his or her permanent record.

    The fact that you're still arguing the "creaming" point shows how little you know about KIPP. As a KIPP parent whose child went through 5-8th grade and got into a top boarding school, I know that they don't cream. My child came in at the 3rd grade level in math and English and is now at one of the most prestigious boarding schools. She scoed 2200 on the SSAT. How did my child get into KIPP? She got in through a lottery system that RANDOMLY selects who comes in.

    You're misrepresenting my rebuttal. KIPP continues to accept students in 6, 7, and 8th grade.

    You're wrong on so many counts. Go VISIT a KIPP school (like Heartwood) and get some hard facts. I've lived the experience and witnessed how 4 years of how KIPP has transformed my child. That is irrefutable evidence as to the benefits that KIPP provides.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    alastingwill, I'm really the intermediary here -- your argument is with the folks from KIPP Fresno who are saying the opposite of what you're saying.

    You're wrong about students enrolling in KIPP in higher grades. Other KIPP spokespeople say they do not accept 8th-graders and only rarely accept 7th-graders. The statistics on the California Dept. of Education website prove beyond argument that their classes are losing huge percentages of students who ARE NOT BEING REPLACED, and the "3-year study" that you yourself are citing confirmed that decisively as well.

    Congratulations on your daughter's SSAT score and success in high school -- she must be in 9th grade if she attended four years at KIPP Heartwood (I have a 9th-grade daughter too). I don't dispute that KIPP is working well with students.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    That's not true. Their are 8th grade students being accepted, because I talked to the administration at KIPP Fresno. They took 6 new students this year. The students take a placement test (basically the 7th grade EOY test that CA administers) to make sure they meet basic threshold requirements before they enter. Again, you do not cite evidence. You say, "The statistics on the California Dept of Education website prove beyond argument..."; you do not quote any statistics. Your argument would be much stronger if you could say. The Class of 2012 at KIPP entered with X students and are now leaving with Y students. Y is 60% less than X (as you claimed in your previous post). They currently have 60 8th graders, according to the news. That would mean Y would have to be 130+ students, which is absolutely false. Their current 5th grade class is about 90 students, and I know their previous 5th grade classes were smaller (Their starting class only had 30 some students, according to the CDE website that you are referring to). Again, your evidence and quotations aren't being backed up. You can't claim an authoritative sources and then just stick your own claim after it, and call it a fact.

    Email the administration at Fresno. There email's are listed on the kipp website. Maybe you should contact them yourself and hear from an authoritative source instead of these people you claim are KIPP spokespeople.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    alastingwill, I've been told several times by folks from KIPP that KIPP schools don't accept new 8th-graders. I'm happy to accept your correction, but as with other statements of yours, it directly conflicts with information from other KIPP spokespeople.

    Also, your information that incoming students take a "placement test to make sure they meet basic threshold requirements" clashes with the ongoing insistence by KIPP that the test for incoming students is ONLY given to determine what grade to place the incoming student in -- not to determine WHETHER the incoming student can enroll. What a lot of conflicting information we get about KIPP schools!

    I was surprised that you asked me to back up the attrition numbers, because you indicate that you know how to look them up on the CDE website -- though your information that the starting KIPP class had only 30 students is incorrect, according to that website.

    I would also assume you'd already know that the figures reveal that KIPP Fresno's attrition has been startlingly high and that asking me to back up my figures only confirms that.

    However, you did, so here are the most recent numbers available for KIPP Academy Fresno, from 07-08. These numbers are from the California Department of Education website. The figure shown is for the FALL of the year, so we have no idea how many of the students made it through the END of 8th grade. Word is that the biggest attrition season for charter schools in general is right before standardized testing, in the spring.

    The KIPP Fresno class that finished 8th grade in 2008 (the Class of 2012, in KIPP terminology) started with 60 5th-graders in the fall of 2004. The number dwindled to 35 by FALL of 2007. Info on the number who made it through the END of 8th grade is not publicly available.

    A feature common to KIPP schools is that the "demographic subgroup" that's most statistically likely to be academically challenged leaves in far greater numbers, and that's decisively true with KIPP Fresno's African-American boys. 19 African-American boys started 5th grade in fall 2004, and that class had only FOUR African-American boys left by FALL of 8th grade, in 2007, according to the CDE. Again, we don't know how many of those students made it to the end of 8th-grade year.

    If there are indeed 60 current 8th-graders, that's not as much attrition, because that class went from 63 (grade 5) to 79 (grade 6 -- presumably the increase is kids entering after finishing K-5 schools) to 69 (grade 7).

    But many people have said that the several dozen witnesses making complaints against the principal are all families who left KIPP. That indicates that a lot of families are leaving KIPP -- plus if those are fabricated complaints, presumably only a percentage of them would fabricate complaints. So that also indicates high attrition.

    Unfortunately this comment section won't accept links. I'll try to give you access to this blog post about the SRI study showing 60% attrition at Bay Area KIPP schools (that study didn't include KIPP Fresno) by spreading out the link.

    try putting in real dots:

    www dot sfschools dot org/2008/09/study-local-kipp-schools-lose-60-of dot html

    By the way, among sources I've gotten information about KIPP from are KIPP's lead spokesman, Steve Mancini, and also KIPP's lead media supporter, Washington Post/Newsweek education columnist Jay Mathews, author of the new book "Work Hard. Be Nice."

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    Students can always enroll. If they don't meet basic threshold requirements, they start at the grade below. So, say someone wants to come in at 8th grade. They're given the 7th EOY test. If they fail, they're given the 6th EOY test. If they pass, they are given the option of enrolling in 7th grade. This is simply to limit the continuum of what students know and do not know. Caroline, it's not about OR statement...trying to pick one statement from a KIPP blogger and finding contradictions with what I say. Try using the word AND, and combine statements together.

    The numbers you quoted don't support your claim that there's 60% attrition. 60 --> 35 is about 40% attrition. Given that KIPP Fresno has the second highest attrition in the KIPP network (from Steve Mancini), this is not representative of KIPP Nation. In any case, your own data contradicts yourself. You also know, since you're doing your research, that the Class of 2012 would be their first class. The founding year of any class is the most difficult, so I'm not particularly surprised by those numbers. The 2013 class has about 60 students right now.

    OK - academically challenged are more likely to leave. That seems like a common sense point to me. It's obvious that there's a strong correlation between academics and behavior. Did it ever dawn on you that those people also are the most likely to misbehave (cheat, get in fights, etc.). If I don't feel successful, I act up. that seems like a very plausible conditional statement.

    You said:
    "But many people have said that the several dozen witnesses making complaints against the principal are all families who left KIPP. That indicates that a lot of families are leaving KIPP -- plus if those are fabricated complaints, presumably only a percentage of them would fabricate complaints. So that also indicates high attrition." As Mr. Tschang shared with the Fresno Bee, over 100 sources were interviewed. 75+ of those sources had positive things to say, all of which FUSD left out. 20 some sources had negative things to say, 90% of which had left. I don't see how you're linking the sources who were quoted in the report to high attrition. Also, I'm not denying that the events never happened. I'm denying that they happened the way they described. For examples, Ms. Sifuentes in the Fresno Bee explains a teacher's side of Mr. Tschang making a kid get on all fours and barking. She says Mr. Tschang used that as a metaphor to teach a kid that copying another kid isn't always a smart thing to do. That was never issued as a command, and the kid never did it.

    By the way, thanks for sharing those numbers. I don't disagree that there are areas where KIPP needs to improve. My points earlier - as I shared about my daughter - are simply to make the point that KIPP is not the evil place that people make it to be (or the news reports make KIPP Fresno to be). It's done a lot of good for the individuals that have stayed the course.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    Caroline - You must also know that their are 66 KIPP schools in the US. Each one is a unique entity; no KIPP spokesperson can speak to each of their policies and procedures (especially specific ones like whether students can come in at the 8th grade). The only commonalities are the 5 pillars that are described on the KIPP website (Power to Lead, More Time, etc...). That might be where some of your confusion comes in.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    The SRI study (approved by KIPP) found 60% attrition in the Bay Area KIPP schools. I didn't say KIPP Fresno itself had 60% attrition.

    There are very few voices making KIPP out to be an evil place, and they are way drowned out by the loud chorus singing KIPP's unquestioned praise, not to mention the steady drumming of the multimillion-dollar checks raining down upon KIPP. As far as the Fresno press, I've been checking out the local coverage. The broadcast media have openly taken KIPP's side. Only the Fresno Bee is covering the story professionally and impartially.

    I don't make KIPP out to be an evil place, and I agree that the students who do make it through the program seem to be very successful. I just see a lot of the facts -- the asterisks -- about KIPP ignored, downplayed and denied -- primarily the self-selection/creaming and the attrition. I see traditional public schools regularly and unfairly blasted and bashed for not being KIPP -- with KIPP's vigorous encouragement -- when they don't benefit from the constant shower of multigazillion-dollar checks and the ability to cream and dump problem students. That hurts non-KIPP schools and the students in them, and it's dishonest and wrong.
    In THAT specific way, KIPP IS less than righteous.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    I cannot agree with two of your previous points:

    1) Creaming - The class of 2012 came in at the 30th percentile and ended up at the 92nd percentile. While some of that is due to mobility, how can you say that they recruit the top kids? The incoming scores of the 5th grades, according to the Stanford-10, are abysmally low.

    2) If you google search KIPP Fresno, and click on news, you will see other stations, beside the Fresno Bee, not openly taking Fresno's side:

    KSEE: Fresno facing foreclosure
    KMPH: Allegations of inappropriate discipline

  • KIPP Fresno Teacher 5 years ago

    Alastingwill: Don't you know by now that it's useless to argue with Caroline? She KNOWS what KIPP schools are like, and nothing we say will convince her otherwise. Another poster and I already argued about creaming with her on the other post on this blog, but she's still spouting the same nonsense.

    I also argued with her about the money. KIPP schools don't have that much money! We get less money from the state than public schools do, so the private donations make up for that. At KIPP Fresno, we don't have textbooks for every student, we don't have a library, and we don't have a computer lab. We just started a basketball team this year, and we don't even have a gymnasium, just the recess hoops. You claim that we have all of these resources that other schools don't, but in reality we have many fewer resources. We just do more with what we've got to achieve great things with our students.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    KIPPFT, KIPP schools simply do have vastly more money than public schools. Millions upon millions in private philanthropy rolls in steadily. KIPP boasts about this (because it then brings in more millions). You really can't have it both ways -- pleading poverty when it suits you and boasting about the generosity showered on you when that works better for you.

    The KIPP defenders here are, as I've noted, contradicting each other about creaming. Alastingwill, I never said KIPP recruits the "top kids"; that's a straw man. I said that the process self-selects for the higher-functioning, motivated kids from higher-functioning, motivated families.

    Press bias is to some extent in the eye of the beholder, but from what I saw, numerous broadcast reports either mentioned the abuse charges only in passing or not at all, and focused on the protests in support of the ex-principal.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    Here's KIPP's list of "philanthropic partners," topped by Gap founder Don Fisher, who has given more than $25 million to KIPP:

    www dot kipp dot org/06/ourpartners dot cfm

    KIPP's website says KIPP spends about $1,100 to $1,500 per student per year above the publicly funded amount.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    KIPP has philanthropic donors, but work with families that aren't well off. When I visited some schools in Beverly Hills, one of their teachers was saying that their PTA contributes so much money. Teacher's wish lists are always granted. Also, even when teachers don't teach well, parents always have enough money to pay for outside tutoring services. Therefore, the students manage to score high.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    Also, if you've studied a KIPP school's budget, you would understand that most of the operating costs go to teacher salaries; this is due to longer school days at KIPP, and compensation for those hours. In terms of resources and supplies, a KIPP school definitely does not have the technology needed to compete with schools like the Andre Agassi Charter School, Orange County schools, or schools in Beverly Hills

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    "I said that the process self-selects for the higher-functioning, motivated kids from higher-functioning, motivated families." - Explain how students with IEP's get into KIPP. They do exist at KIPP schools. Also, your statement isn't provable. One could argue that their motivation comes from the teaching of character and the modeling of their hard-working teachers.

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    KIPP Foundation money, by the way, does not go to the schools. It goes to the training of its leaders. Every summer, they run an institute for the Fisher Fellows (named after the GAP founders that you stated) and other members of the leadership team.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    Actually, KIPP notoriously underserves special education kids, as all charter school do.

    But other KIPP supporters here are describing the contract meeting process that discourages families who aren't willing to make the commitments KIPP requires. Again, you're contradicting each other.

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    Caroline - Again, for the nth time, you continue to just throw out facts without supporting your claims.

    Have you read a KIPP contract? I mean, it's just basics that any good student/family should adhere to (minus the longer hours, which is a distinctive of KIPP schools). KIPP doesn't discourage families from attending. It just makes its expectations clear. Did you read the numbers I threw out earlier? An average 5th grade comes in at the 30th percentile and 80% of families are on free and reduced lunch. Who exactly does the contract discourage? It discourages rich families and high-performing students (?) Is that your claim? How can you look at the incoming class and even claim that? How can you make the assertion that kids that come in are more highly-motivated? Please! Look at the facts and stop throwing out unsupported claims.

    Second, you did not have a fair rebuttal to my claims about how money is used as well as my claim that KIPP schools lack resources compared to public schools in wealthy areas.

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    You made the claim that KIPP notoriously under-serves special education kids. What percentage of kids from KIPP Heartwood are special ed?

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    That further weakens your argument about how KIPP schools have more resources:

    "Charter schools are public schools that receive 80 percent of state per-pupil funding. The other 20 percent goes to the district or body that sponsors the charter school."

  • KIPP Supporter 5 years ago

    This detracts from your argument that ALL charter schools notoriously under-serve special education populations:

    In the 2006 Indiana Charter School Report (December 2006 issue), they claim that 41% of the student population at one of their charter schools is special education.

    Again, I don't know where you get your "facts." It's a good thing you're not a lawyer.

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    KIPP Supporter - I agree with you. Caroline throws out a lot of unsubstantiated claims but rarely has numbers or sources to back up what she says. She claims that we're contradicting each other, but I don't think we are. I agree with everything you said. Where does she get all her "facts"?

  • alastingwill 5 years ago

    I've been a KIPP parent for 4 years, and I've never witnessed a contract meeting where the child was discouraged from participating. The teachers lay out expectations clearly, make us sign it, and then hold us to it. They are upfront about the work that is involved. I appreciate the transparency.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    KIPP Heartwood's most recent publicly available figures report 14 special ed students out of a total enrollment of 358, or 3.9 percent special ed. The Alum Rock school district reports 1,454 special ed students out of a total enrollment of 13,840, or 10.5 percent special ed. (All figures per CDE website.)

    Ladies and/or gentlemen, this discussion is getting rather endless. I like to encourage and participate in discussion on this blog, but it's becoming repetitive and unproductive.

    I've been blogging about KIPP and following news coverage, public discussion and edu-wonk blogs about KIPP and charter schools in general for several years. It's not really practical for me to dig up (again) support for every fact I've previously found, posted or read -- I just don't have time; sorry if you haven't been following these issues long enough to be aware. A more-informed charter school insider, for example, would know not to try to argue the point about underserving special-ed students because it's so obvious and widely discussed.

    Straw man alert (yet again): I have not said that ALL charter schools notoriously underserve special education students. Some charter schools specialize in serving disabled students. However, OVERALL, in the aggregate, it is a well-known situation that charter schools underserve special-education students, and KIPP is no exception. This causes distress and embarrassment to sincere people in the charter school world. Next time I come across a piece of supporting information, I'll blog it.

    The various KIPP advocates are going back and forth about whether/how much creaming happens. Discuss among yourselves, please.

    KIPP's own materials and supporters explain that KIPP has and uses more resources than public schools do. If you want to know how they're used, I'm sure KIPP folks will be happy to speak with you.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    My apologies; my previous comment carelessly did say that "all" charter schools underserve disabled students. I misspoke; not all do. Overall, in the aggregate, it's a recognized and accepted fact that charter schools underserve disabled students. The figures for KIPP Heartwood, since someone asked, confirm that KIPP Heartwood is no exception.

  • KIPP Fresno Teacher 5 years ago

    Caroline,
    Of course we're not going to go back and read everything you've ever written about KIPP. Is it too much to ask, though, that you back up your assertions in this discussion with facts instead of with what you "know"?

    This discussion is endless because you refuse to accept that KIPP does good things for underserved communities. You've already made up your mind, and no amount of data or anecdotes are going to change it.

    We KIPP supporters know that KIPP is not perfect, but we don't think those imperfections are bad things. KIPP can't serve severely disabled students because that's not part of its mission and it doesn't have the resources for that. KIPP does select for motivated students, but shouldn't students who want to learn be given the opportunity to learn? KIPP does get private donations, but those donations aren't what makes the difference in our education. KIPP does have strict discipline, but students need to be held accountable for their behavior from the outside until they mature enough to be self-policing of their actions. If you don't agree with what I've written in this paragraph, then I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

  • Caroline, SF Education Examiner 5 years ago

    I DO acknowledge that KIPP does good things for students from underserved communities. I've been specific about my issues.

    (If KIPP doesn't "have the resources" to serve severely disabled students, how do traditional public schools have them?)

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