Saturday, May 14, 2016

Schools Matter: Duckworth Panned, Grit Roasted, KIPP Cooked

Schools Matter: Duckworth Panned, Grit Roasted, KIPP Cooked:

Duckworth Panned, Grit Roasted, KIPP Cooked


New York Times reviewer, Judith Shulevitz, concludes a negative review of Angela Duckworth's new book with this:
You can’t blame Duckworth for how people apply her ideas, but she’s not shy about reducing them to nostrums that may trickle down in problematic ways. On the one hand, some of the “no excuses” charter schools that her research helped to shape have raised math and literacy scores among minority and poor students. On the other hand, a growing number of scholars as well as former teachers at those schools report that some of the schools, at least, feel more like prisons than houses of learning. Schools that prize self-­regulation over self-expression may lift a number of children out of poverty, but may also train them to act constrained and overly deferential — “worker-learners,” as the ethnographer Joanne W. Golann calls them. Meanwhile, schools for more affluent children encourage intellectual curiosity, independent reasoning and creativity. Ask yourself which institutions are more likely to turn out leaders. Perhaps an approach to character training that’s less hard-edge — dare I say, less John Wayne-ish? — and more willing to cast a critical eye on the peculiarly American cult of individual ascendancy could instill grit while challenging social inequality, rather than inadvertently reproducing it.
Actually, you can blame Duckworth for how people apply her ideas, since the humiliation that we see at KIPP and other other KIPP Model schools is directly linked to her and David Levin's design for teaching grit, which is based on the "learned helplessness" and "resilience" research of psychologist and CIA consultant, Dr. Martin Seligman.  

Below are a few excerpts from my book that provide more context for Duckworth's role in creating the ethnic character cleansing used by the KIPP Model schools.   

Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys through "No Excuses" Teaching may be purchased with a 20 percent discount from Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.  Use code: RLEGEN16 when ordering.

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Performance Character


Seligman’s influence and that of his protégé, Angela Duckworth, continue to be central in controlling the “non-cognitive” behaviors and attitudes that are central to completing the KIPP Model mission. As “KIPP teachers believe their job is to teach 49 percent academics and 51 percent character” (Morris, 2011), “grit” and “self-control” are the two most important character traits that KIPP develops in their students. The other components of character are zest, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, and curiosity,although the KIPP model is principally concerned with developing grit, or relentless determination to achieve and to maintain self-control


KIPP further divides self-control into two categories, each having four components:Schools Matter: Duckworth Panned, Grit Roasted, KIPP Cooked:

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