kitchen table math, the sequel: Lynn G on whether KIPP kicks kids out

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lynn G on whether KIPP kicks kids out

Public schools kick kids out. It is standard policy. They have to provide tutoring and/or pay for alternative placements, but they are quite happy to do that and bill the taxpayers for it. As the public schools struggle to show improvement in test scores, I expect to see more low performing kids shuffled off to alternative programs where their scores won't count against the sending school district.

I've looked at the expulsion and graduation rates at inner city schools, and KIPP does a better job of keeping kids in and getting them to graduation than the public schools they came from. KIPP has a lower expulsion rate than say, the Hartford public schools, where kids are expelled or encouraged to drop out at much higher rates than the charters.

My $32K per pupil public school has some species of "zero tolerance" policy, which means the administration kicks kids out and pays for home tutoring. e.g.: If a student is caught smoking pot in the bathroom, he's gone. Period. I assume most parents support this policy, but that's beside the point. The point is: if a student in my district steps across the line, he's out.

I suspect my district has a higher rate of student expulsions than KIPP:
With children who had more serious behavioral problems, who would tell a teacher to f*** off without feeling any remorse, the Porch [in-class detention] had little power....Levin was resolved to expel students only in the most extreme circumstances, which, it turned out, happened only once or twice a year, far less than in many regular public schools that forced students to transfer to special programs for discipline problems. Levin and Feinberg considered each student they could not teach a failure on their part. They kept looking for ways to get the number of dismissals down to zero.

Work Hard. Be Nice. by Jay Mathews
page 171
KIPP doesn't do what it does by cherry picking students or kicking students out or having parents sign contracts.

It does what it does through excellent teaching and through the creation of an "authoritative" school culture that keeps kids in line the same way authoritative parents keep kids in line. Lemov calls this culture "warm/strict," and I recognize his account: he is describing the school culture of Hogwarts, my son's Jesuit high school.


Catherine Johnson said...

The next Lemov section I have to quote is the technique he calls "warm/strict."

That's a good description of 'authoritative parenting' & of the culture at Hogwarts, which I think of as "high joy/high discipline."

LynnG said...

I just got a call last night from another parent looking for some school that will take her son. He's been kicked out of the regular public school for discipline issues. He comes from a great family (mom was big in the PTO a few years back). The public school couldn't care less -- kick him out and tutor is fine by them. I told her to try the Big Picture school, which also has great success with kids tossed out of public school.

There isn't a KIPP in the area to recommend, or I would have. My anecdotal experience is that the Charters and Magnets are where the suburbs ditch their trouble makers.

Catherine Johnson said...

mine, too -- only now Westchester has lost the one magnet it had (I think there was just one) & we have no charters

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