Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools: Part 14
Below is Part 14 from my book, Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys through "Excuses" Teaching.
Earlier parts can be found at this blog by searching on the title of the blog entry, followed by the part number.
A Model Whose Time Has Past
Since its beginning in 1994, the KIPP Model has focused on getting economically disadvantaged students to and through college. As the first KIPP schools were grades 5-8, the long-term goal of college makes some sense as a motivator, even though higher education means high school for most fifth graders, KIPP or no KIPP. Most often college remains a distant dream for children whose poverty levels have excluded them and their families from that experience in the past.
With KIPP now expanding its reach into early elementary grades and even Pre-K, the focus on college may make for attractive classroom posters, but the value of college can hardly be viewed as a realistic motivator for children in these early grades. In fact, KIPP’s insistence of the singular goal of attaining a college education in some “remote future” (Dewey, 1897) serves to distract from the integration of young children’s experiences or the healthy development of empathetic understanding. Working to make children’s schooling more in tune requirements for working and playing together may have a greater moral force than any of the “performance character” regimen designed by “positive” psychologists in search of interventions to alter children’s neural landscapes to fit the compliance requirements of the KIPP Model.
The festooning of KIPP Model school hallways with university pennants and the labeling of classrooms with college names may serve to motivate adults in the school, but elementary age children are less likely to be affected by these memorabilia, as Dewey (1897) astutely noted over a century ago:
. . .much of present education. . . conceives the school as a place where certain information is to be given, where certain lessons are to be learned, or where certain habits are to be formed. The value of these is conceived as lying largely in the remote future; the child must do these things for the sake Schools Matter: Understanding KIPP Model Charter Schools: Part 14: