Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Book Defines the Case Against KIPP and Other Charter Management Organizations | janresseger

New Book Defines the Case Against KIPP and Other Charter Management Organizations | janresseger:

New Book Defines the Case Against KIPP and Other Charter Management Organizations

Charter schools have been with us now for two decades. Enough evidence and data have been gathered that it ought to be possible to assess their capacity for achieving what many describe as their goal: helping poor children and closing achievement gaps.  Samuel Abrams, the director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, has just published Education and the Commercial Mindset, a fascinating evaluation of the role of two strategies for privatizing schools—the Education Management Organization (for-profit EMO) and the Charter Management Organization (not-for-profit CMO).
Abrams sets up a case study of Edison Schools to examine the role of for-profit school management and a case study of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) to explore the workings of a huge, nonprofit charter network. While Abrams’ story of the ultimate failure of the for-profit EMOs is a fascinating read, the presence of the not-for-profits is of far more urgent interest; these are, after all, the fast-growing form of privatization. According to Abrams, if one removes the huge online, virtual-academy EMOs, the nonprofit CMOs are replacing the for-profit EMOs in terms of market share: “In sum, by 2011-2012, the latest academic year for which cumulative data are available, nearly one-third of students in schools managed by EMOs were online students; the number of CMO schools had far surpassed that of EMO schools; and the number of students in CMO schools had far exceeded the number of students in EMO brick-and-mortar schools.” (p. 193)
In an interview with journalist Jennifer Berkshire, Abrams clarifies the subject of the privatization of education with an essential definition: “Privatization takes the form of nonprofit as well as for-profit school management, as privatization technically means outsourcing the provision of government services to independent operators, whether nonprofit or for-profit.” In other words, nonprofit charter schools are a form of privatization, despite that their proponents and sponsors persist in calling them “public charter schools.”
While Abrams’ review of KIPP is mostly positive—especially compared with the record of Edison Schools that precedes his profile of KIPP,  he explains the KIPP Schools’ limitations and concludes that on the whole privatization—even the not-for-profit variety—has failed to fulfill the promises of proponents of the school choice marketplace:

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