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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jan 30th 2010, 07:51 PM
There is no way in the world any of these things could have been acceptable in the classroom in public schools where I taught. They might have been done, but there would be severe consequences for the teacher.

These are actions from a charter school. From March of last year.

The KIPP Fresno Horror Story That the National Media Won't Tell: Part I

In April, May, and June 2008, parents of children attending KIPP Academy Fresno Charter School filed multiple complaints with the Fresno Unified School District about practices at the school. Even though the District passed the complaints to the KIPP Board to investigate, the Board had no authority to demand answers or to make personnel changes and, therefore, advised the District to take charge of the investigation. Following an investigation, a 64 page Notice to Cure and Correct report was issued on December 11, 2008.


Below are some of the findings from that Report:

1. In her interview Kia Spenhoff stated that she witnessed Mr. Tschang put his hands on students. She witnessed Mr. Tschang pick up a student off the ground, hold the student by the neck against a wall, and then drop the student. When asked about this incident Mr Tschang stated, "I don't remember picking up and dropping a student, I do remember shaking a kid."

2. In December 2007 the police reported several students for shoplifting at a ______ store. As punishment, Mr. Tschang had them sit at their desks outside in the cold for two days. Diane Gutierrez, an employee at the Charter School, stated that Mr. Tschang took away their shoes on one day to let them know how it feels to have something taken away from them.


More from Part I of the report on this topic by Schools Matter:

6. __________ also reported witnessing Tschang push another student's face against the wall and saying, " Put your ugly face against the wall, I don't want to see your face."

10. Student __________ reported witnessing Mr. Tschang draw a circle on the ground and force a student to stand in the circle for two hours in the sun during the summertime.


There is more on the issue from School Matters Part 2 of the report

Ms. Mayfield also stated that for the first day of isolation, "During the entire day he would be screaming and yelling at the children off an don. I lost count of how many times he could be heard from the classroom." _______ was one of the students who was caught shoplifting, and she stated that on one of th edays they were being punished T told her and her sister, "Oh, you and your sister are going to the barber shop." When they asked why, T responded, "Because you are going to get your head shaved."

When asked about this incident, T stated, " The next day one of the 7th grade students came in with his head shaved and ________ asked, 'What should I do with my girls?' I responded, ' This is what another family did, maybe you should try that.' She was asking for ideas and so I gave her one."


More from the report. I know how annoying it can be when students need to use the restroom during class. Rule of thumb for public school teachers in our area...never say no to them. Let them go even if we don't like the timing.

..."A common complaint from students was that teachers were not letting student go the bathroom. Student ______ reported that there was a student in Ms. Sosa's class who urinated in his pants because he was not allowed to use the restroom. Student ______ who started with the Charter School in 2004 and just graduated in 2008, stated, "They would not let us use the bathroom during classes. Parents heard about this and they had to have a meeting to get hem to alow us this, to allow us to go to the bathrooms." . . . .

Former teacher Laura Allen stated, "we did encourage them to hold it when possible so as no to miss instruction.


Bark like a dog, told to go and change diapers.

Student ________ said that in December of 2007, T told him to get on his hand and knees and bark like a dog. ________ said that it was metaphor to get him to stop joking around in class. _________, guardian of _________, also alleged that in the summer of 2007, T got upset at ______ for asking to call ________, took his cell phone, threw it, and told ______ to, "go fetch it." _________ confronted T about the incident and he said T stated it was, "my school and I run it the way I want it run."

.."Student ________ reported that students were called "gay" and "ignorant," and that teachers siad things like , "Go change your diapers, you're acting like a 2-year old."


These are examples of things that happen when local school boards do not have the ability to control and regulate charter schools in their districts.

From Part I of the School Matters summaries:

During the 2006-2007 school year, the KIPP Board received training from the District regarding its roles and responsibilities. During the 07-08 school year, complaints against the CEO, Mr. Tschang continued. After calling for Mr. Tschang's resignation, the KIPP Board was told by KIPP, Inc. that the Board had no authority to demand Mr. Tschang's resignation. The Board resigned shortly thereafter.


Other charter schools are also governing from afar. One example is the way Imagine Charter Schools operate.

Now, the Post-Dispatch has obtained a memo in which the chief of Virginia-based Imagine Schools lays out a nationwide blueprint for controlling school boards and limiting their authority. In the year-old e-mail, CEO Dennis Bakke tells his employees they should control who stays on the board, select those who will "go along with Imagine," and ask board members to submit undated letters of resignation "that can be acted on by us at any time."

Such philosophies break a primary tenet of the charter school movement — that schools should be independently governed by local leaders — and conflict with both nonprofit law and state charter school statutes.


From the link a quote from the education blogger The Perimeter Primate:

In the future, communities will not be able to be involved with any aspect of their schools. Say bye-bye to school boards, School Site Councils, teacher unions, school worker unions, and other community-member involved bodies. Say hello to a vestigial form of the school district that only takes care of the unwanteds: special ed and behavior-problem students. Decisions will be made by the CMOs (Charter Management Organizations) . CMOs like Aspire, Envision, Green Dot, KIPP, and Imagine will be the “big box store" equivalent of public schools. This is where America’s urban schools are headed.


I found this blog by a former teacher and coach. His comments about himself:

I served as union rep and was classified as a TFA Almuni. I earned a Masters in Educational Leadership & Administration, producing a collaborative thesis through a haze of distraction. The writings on this site garnered a certain amount of praise, as well as the ire of District leadership. I am no longer a teacher.


Here is the blogger's observation of what went on at a KIPP school which was apparently near his school.

Charter School Discipline Choices

Holding 7th grade girls basketball tryouts yesterday, and I see maybe half-dozen KIPP students lined face-first against the wall, noses touching the concrete, not moving. Looking like they're getting lined up to be shot. A KIPP instructor comes around the corner and I half expect him to offer cigarettes and a blindfold, but instead he starts screaming at the back of their heads about something, eventually leaving them to stand there.

What I witnessed was not discipline. The KIPP policy of putting kids on "the porch" -- a systematic method of exclusion and ostracization -- is not discipline. These actions are public shaming, akin to puritanical brandings of scarlet A's. I am, in no way, some hippie new waver who holds sing-alouds in my classroom and encourages shoeless meanderings and hand-holdings. At the same time, I do not seek to foster educational success through blatant intimidation and the instillation of humiliation. Nor do I need to.

There is a means vs. ends argument to be made here. How desperate are we for demonstrable academic success? How important is it to produce test scores? What type of behavior are we modeling, teaching, instilling? Seriously. School leaders have power and the KIPP people choose to demonstrate the use of power through ugly ways. What does that show our kids? What does that teach them?


The Atlanta Journal Constitution covered the excesses of punishment at KIPP, and told of upset parents.

Charter school faces withdrawals over punishment

The parents were so angry at what they saw as excessive punishment at KIPP South Fulton Academy that they complained to several agencies, including the Fulton school board and state Department of Education.

The parents said a group of children were mistreated by teachers who separated them from their peers in class and at lunch. The students, parents said, reported sitting on the floor and said one girl urinated on herself after not being allowed to use the restroom immediately.

..."Discipline is a hallmark of the Knowledge Is Power Program, which operates 66 schools nationwide. KIPP is known for bringing high test scores and college-prep skills to children at higher risk of academic failure. The school is a big commitment, with long weekdays and Saturday and summer sessions.

The dispute erupted in December, after a teacher made a group of fifth-graders she said had been disrupting class sit in the back of the room. Kofi Kinney, who is also dean of operations, dubbed the group “The Little Rock Nine,” a reference to the African-American children who were blocked from, then allowed into, high school in Arkansas in 1957. The KIPP students, who are African-American like most of their classmates, later became the “KIPP Nine.”


The tactics of humiliation...that is what they should be called.

The turnover to private Education Management Companies is in full swing now. It is happening very quickly. The media is not being informative. Teachers are just catching on, parents don't really understand yet.

When the control shifts, the policies change, the cheaper teachers are hired, and firing is done frequently. Nothing matters really but profit in the long run.

Too many are avoiding this topic because it does not reflect well on our party's leadership. As a result of being too loyal, we are turning our heads.

We are so casual about the demise of public education.


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