KIPP charter model

New study says KIPP benefits from considerable private funding


The Knowledge Is Power Program, a not for profit US  charter school network,  much admired by the Coalition Government,  and known for lifting the achievements of poor children through high standards and long hours of work, benefits, according to a new study from significant private funding and has relatively high student attrition.

The study from researchers at Western Michigan University, estimates that KIPP schools receive more than $5,000 a year per pupil through private donations in addition to regular sources of public funding. During the 2007-08 school year, KIPP received more per pupil in combined revenue ($12,731 per student) than any other comparison group: the national average for all schools ($11,937), the national charter average ($9,579), or the average for KIPP schools’ local school districts ($11,960).  KIPP received more in per-pupil revenue from federal sources ($1,779) than did any other comparison group: the national average ($922), the national charter district average ($949), or KIPP schools’ host districts ($1,332).It also found that about 15 percent of KIPP students leave the schools each year as they progress from sixth to eighth grades — and that those students often are not replaced. KIPP schools have substantially higher levels of attrition than do their local school districts according to the study. The analysis revealed that on, average, approximately 15% of the students disappear from the KIPP grade cohorts each year.   Between grades 6 and 8, the size of the KIPP grade cohorts drop by 30%. The actual attrition rate is likely to be higher since some of the KIPP schools do fill in some of the vacated places after grade 6.  Gary Miron, the study’s author, said KIPP schools in Washington and elsewhere often outperform regular public schools. “But they’re not doing it with the same students, and they’re not doing it with the same dollars,” he claimed. KIPP officials  were dismissive saying  that the study was riddled with errors because of flaws in the data that were analyzed. “The questions they ask are the right ones,” said KIPP spokesman Steve Mancini. “We reject their conclusions.”  With 99 schools serving about 27,000 students, mostly from middle schools, KIPP is one of the nation’s most closely watched experiments in urban school reform. Typically, its students are in school nine hours a day. They also attend school many Saturdays and for two to three weeks in the summer. Philanthropists and federal officials often hold KIPP up as a model, because it gets strong results from disadvantaged students.  Mancini said KIPP estimates that its schools receive $2,250 to $3,250 a year per student in private funding, excluding capital funds. He said that KIPP does not seek to weed out students, citing a 2010 study by Mathematica Policy Research, which found that KIPP schools do not, on the whole, have higher attrition than comparable public schools.  However, KIPP officials acknowledge that their schools tend to have a lower share of students with disabilities or who are not fluent in English, relative to neighbouring schools. The research concludes that ‘…that because of selective entry and exit  of students and the higher levels of funding received by KIPP this model may not be easily replicated in  traditional public schools.’ A point that has been picked up by Professor Dylan Wiliam. He accepts that while the KIPP model is sound for hard working children, it did not improve attainment across the system as a whole.

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