Friday, October 7, 2016

Schools Matter: Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools, Part 11

Schools Matter: Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools, Part 11:

Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools, Part 11

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This is Part 11 from Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys through "No Excuses" Teaching.  It's another piece of the puzzle providing a clear picture of the KIPP Model "Miracle."
Chapter 11

Special Needs Students and the KIPP Model: “A Lawsuit Waiting to Happen”

            Research (Miron, Urschel, & Saxton, 2011; Miron, Urschel, Mathis, & Tornquist, 2010) consistently shows that the majority of total compliance charter schools have significantly fewer English language learners and special education students.  The charts below show trends of students served by KIPP schools and public school districts for 2005 through 2009 (Miron, Urschel, & Saxton, 2011, p. 14).





More recent research (Weber & Rubin, 2014) shows that, when comparing the types of disabilities found at charters with regular public schools, the disabilities of students enrolled in charter schools are ones that require fewer time-consuming and costly accommodations and individual education plans (IEPs).  Based on interviews with former KIPP teachers, these findings become more understandable.
Schools that follow the KIPP model use predominantly large group direct instruction, with the teacher expected to be in complete command of behavioral and academic tasks.  Most school leaders and teachers at KIPP have not completed traditional teacher education programs, and their understanding of special needs children’s learning modalities is most often scant or non-existent.  This reality presented itself for one former KIPP teacher, who had never been consulted regarding his students’ IEPs. 
The lone special education teacher was a faculty member he had seen “once or twice” during his two years at KIPP.  He spoke of the inexperience, isolation, and lack of collaboration at his school that he blamed for a dangerous event involving a special needs student:


So many times I felt like I was just working in isolation. And again, I liked my colleagues and I never felt like there was anybody Schools Matter: Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools, Part 11:


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