I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Friday, March 16, 2012

KIPP's All-American Values

You have to hand it to KIPP - they don't mess around:
Students in Northeast Florida have been offered gift cards, parties, even cars for their performance on the FCAT.  Continuing that long history of incentive programs in the state and Northeast Florida, KIPP Impact Middle School is offering $20 to students who reach specific learning gains scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.  If all of the school’s 160 students reach their targets for learning gains, KIPP Impact would pay out about $3,200 in private funds to the students.
KIPP Impact, which is a national network of public college preparatory charter schools that targets underprivileged students,  earned the six-county region’s lowest FCAT score last year.               
[emphasis mine]
If I were one of these kids, I'd be demanding a lot more than a mere $20. KIPP pulls in lots of government funds for each student they take, plus a mess of private donations. They were a $60 million business in 2010, with six-figure executives running the show. Seems to me that twenty bucks is chicken feed when you consider what's at stake for the adults.

I mean, if you're going to teach kids life is all about money, you may as well teach them to play hardball, right?
Local and national KIPP officials stressed that the school isn’t paying for grades, but rather just incentivizing good choices and good effort.
“We believe that it’s important to teach kids that we you make good choices in life you can earn rewards,” said Tom Majdanics, executive director for KIPP Jacksonville.  “As adults when we make good choices in life good things happen, as college students we make good choices and good things happen. Those are the good choices we’re trying to promote for our kids in the fifth and sixth grade.”
Apparently, "good things" doesn't mean an intrinsic love of learning, or pride in accomplishment, or developing strong civic values. "Good things" is money, pure and simple. The adults sure get their share when the kids all conform and fill in the bubbles correctly; we're just giving the tots a little taste so they salivate when their masters ring the bell.

This was inevitable. When corporate values guide schools, materialism will reign supreme. Good luck building a democracy, America, when we teach our kids at the earliest age that their entire worth can be expressed with pictures of dead presidents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So let's bring this to New Jersey the Kevin Bacon way.....

Eli Broad Foundation is one of the most generous benefactors of KIPP. Cerf served on the Board of KIPP, is a Broad Fellow, and has brought millions of Broad dollars to NJ to fund his initiatives.

Will the next initiative be to give prizes to Newark KIPP students? By following logic, it doesn't seem too far off!