Thursday, October 14, 2010

Waiting for Superman... to get bored and drop you like a bad habit

From Roger Ebert's review of Waiting for Superman:
We have met five of these students, heard from them and their parents, and hope they'll win. The cameras hold on their faces as numbers are drawn or names are called. The odds against them are 20 to 1. Lucky students leap in joy. The other 19 of the 20 will return to their neighborhood schools, which more or less guarantees they will be part of a 50 percent dropout rate. The key thing to keep in mind is that underprivileged, inner-city kids at magnet schools such as Kipp L.A. Prep or the Harlem Success Academy will do better academically than well-off suburban kids with fancy high school campuses, athletic programs, swimming pools, closed-circuit TV and lush landscaping. [emphasis added]
Probably the most comprehensive study of the KIPP program was done by SRI, which looked at KIPP schools in the Bay Area. Here's one of their findings (again, emphasis added):
As researchers analyzed the student achievement data and KIPP’s approach, they also identified challenges facing Bay Area KIPP schools, including high student attrition rates, teacher turnover, and low state and local funding. For example, 60 percent of students who entered fifth grade at four Bay Area KIPP schools in 2003-04 left before completing eighth grade.
More that any other player in the charter school movement, KIPP has relied on the cheese effect to generate its results. It's a profitable and highly praised business model built entirely of the backs of discarded students.

1 comment:

  1. A much better, more recent, and much larger study of KIPP is the Mathematica study.