Left takes against KIPP
It had to come. A backlash, that is, against KIPP, regarded as one of the best Charter school chains in the United States. There is now a lively debate on, or is it in, the blogoshere between pros and antis. The pros including Government education advisers here see it as a model non-profit provider, innovative and effective, focused mainly on deprived pupils. Sam Freedman one of Goves advisers and Rachel Wolf of the New Schools Network are unabashed admirers ,as is Gove himself who has referenced KIPP in many speeches. But here is an extract from one antis blog diatribe ‘ These schools embrace two main philosophies. The first is that they almost exclusively, serve poor, minority children, in effect creating segregated charter schools. The second is that KIPP employs an authoritarian approach to education, coercing students to bend to the pinched vision and “psychological sterilization” of the charter school manager’s methods.’ The blog continues ‘The authoritarianism found in schools like KIPP permeates nearly every aspect of the education reform movement – or perhaps more accurately, “deform movement,” including its genesis, theory, advocacy, promotion, implementation, and effects. It is a lose-lose proposition, destroying a functioning, if imperfect, educational system and replacing it with a worse one, while simultaneously shaping a populace less able to critically think all the while slowly removing local control of public schools.’ It is a bit of a rant and straight out of the conspiracy theorists draw but has nonetheless attracted the attention of Freedman who has tweeted on it. He says its one of the most absurd pieces he has ever read.
The suggestion that a focus on deprived pupils is a negative trait is … well.. bizarre. There is much talk of profit making and commercialization, in the full version, although KIPP self -evidently is not for profit. Mind you there are plenty of bloggers in the States who believe that the International Baccalaureate is an insidious conspiracy to brainwash American students and undermine core American values -so I suppose one shouldn’t be too surprised. Fundamentalists are not confined, it transpires, to Religion.