Thursday, September 18, 2008

life continues to follow capstone

Two years ago Kristin Swenson spent hours upon hours reporting and writing a long-form piece on KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. She hung out in the classrooms, the schoolyards, the cafeterias, talked to students, teachers and principals. And when she was through, she was left with almost as many questions about the program as answers. Clearly, she put a debate on the table.

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, education writer Nanette Asimov comes to many of the same conclusions, and wonders about many of the same issues that Kristin did: teacher burn-out; high drop out rate; disciplinary measures; and whether the program's overwhelming success with the students who stick it out can be replicated in other schools. Like Kristin, she finds that the verdict is still out.

Speaking of Kristin, be sure to read her comment (there are two) on this post. Natalie's too.

And speaking of students, check out Pat Semansky's photo essay on New Orleans post-katrina in the SCU alumni magazine.

More later. Maybe. bk

1 comment:

Natalie C. said...

We just watched a short clip on KIPP schools in our classroom management class (you can find a ton of them on youtube). Life follows capstone for sure!

The issue I have with KIPP (and many charter schools) is that admission to these schools is application-based, so the students are hand-picked based on "potential." Not that it's necessarily a bad thing to give these particular students the opportunity for a better education, but this could shed some light, maybe, on why the test/placement scores are so high. Also, who's to say that they're actually getting a better education? Just a thought.

KIPP was started by two former Teach For America alumni. I have an even bigger problem with Teach For America (no offense to anyone who may have gone through the program) - but just because you're a high-ranking college student doesn't mean you're going to make a good teacher. The reason there is such a high turnover rate at KIPP schools is probably the same reason people don't last long at TFA - like TFA, KIPP hires young, bright-eyed recent college grads who have no idea how to teach, manage a classroom, or deal with the type of students that KIPP is accepting into their schools. Teachers are leaving these schools because they don't have the proper training and background in teaching and education to be successful.