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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mayor Peyton seeks new job as KIPP school teacher

Mayor Peyton is about to be out of work but if you listened to his Martin Luther King Jr. speech it seems as if he is positioning himself for a new job. That as a teacher at the new Knowledge is Power Program School.

You can tell he is enamored with them when he said: When I look for those pockets of success and models that are working I always end up looking at KIPP.

Yes you might have found it ironic that he didn’t mention Stanton or Paxon long considered to be two of the best schools in the nation, or the fact Sandlewood a mega high school went from a C school to an A school this past year, or the La Villa school of the arts or dozens of other schools around town which have been lauded for their improvements or successes. In fact it wouldn’t have taken much effort for him to mention any school because despite many of their struggles there are amazing things going on at all of them. No he chose to mention the new KIPP school instead.

There are some things you might not know about the KIPP school that our mayor should, aterwards you decide if they are our one pocket of sucess.

First much of the KIPP schools funding come from tax payers and despite this the KIPP school gets to play by different rules.

They get to pick who they take. Public schools are obligated to try and educate everybody who shows up.

They get to pick who they keep. Public schools have to keep them all their children short of them selling drugs or bringing a weapon to school and even then it's nt a certainty they will be gone for a long period of time.

They require the student's parents to be involved. Public schools just get to wish parents would be involved as many are absentee or have abdicated their responsibilites.

KIPP schools are also the darlings of the federal government and entrepreneurs. As those two groups ignore cash starved public schools who have to cut guidance counselor and librarian positions and many of who are phasing out electives suffer, the local KIPP school just received a massive grant to fund a band.

Their classes are smaller, their days are longer and despite all this they don’t do any better than their public school cousins.

Studies show that only about a sixth of charter schools perform any better than the average public schools with the vast majority performing just as well or worse and despite all this common knowledge, and despite all the successes Jacksonville schools have had and there have been many our Mayor chooses to praise this one charter school as Jacksonville's lone pocket of success.

What do you think now? How is that for a pocket of success?

The truth is our schools do need a lot of work but the mayor does them and the fine men and woment who work at them a disservice when he ignores them and talks about the KIPP school with such high regard, which by the way is also less than a year old which means at the very best the jury should still be out.

In the end I wish the KIPP school luck but also I wish more middle schools had bands, more people cared more about the cities public schools and our next mayor is capable of thinking before he speaks.

Chris Guerrieri
School Teacher


  1. Nationally KIPP has been criticized for pushing out special ed students and creating an unfriendly environment for kids and parents who don't toe the KIPP line. Some critics suggest the good results KIPP has partially is the result of convincing underperforming students to leave before the testing season.

    KIPP is very good at finding corporate/biz community support. Their per pupil spending often is as much as 25% higher than public schools in the same community.

    While supporters point to KIPP as an example of money not producing better results, the real KIPP story is that money DOES produce better results. And recruiting an elite cadre of teachers and staff with a missionary zeal for teaching.

    But increasing ed budgets by one-quarter and finding hundreds of thousands of teachers willing to work 100 hours a week is an unlikely national education model.

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