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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Did Gary Chartrand have grades changed to benefit his charter school?

I wrote this only about two weeks ago but in light of the Tony Bennett revelations isn't this a question the media should be asking?

Why did Gary Chartrand feel the need to deceive the people of Florida

Lets not mince words, the state board of education voted to decieve to the people of Florida when they said school grades could only fall one letter grade regardless of performance. They know most people are not going to do the due diligence to research what a school's grade actually is.

Now follow me for a second. Gary Chartrand has a personal stake in seeing Jacksonville’s KIPP charter school do well. He invested a lot of money into it; he sits on the board and has touted it as a savior. He is so immersed in it doing well he isn’t above playing fast and lose with the facts.

He said, “since KIPP was founded in 1994, more than 90 percent of its students have graduated high school and more than 80 percent have attended college”, he left out the caveat, which was on the KIPP web-site that this only applies for the kids who finished 8th grade. By that time they have weeded out the poorer performers. He continued saying, “Of those, 40 percent have obtained college degrees.” Chartrand often plays fast and loose with the facts if it doesn’t back up what he is saying and that 40% stat is no exception.

This is also from the KIPP website. As of fall 2012, 40.2 percent of KIPP alumni who completed eighth grade at KIPP ten or more years ago have graduated from a four-year college. This number is drawn from two KIPP middle schools, the only schools with alumni old enough to have reached this threshold.

So it’s not all KIPP schools mind you, it’s two and if he is going to leave that out, if he is going to attempt to deceive to make his point, then what won’t he lie about? What he also didn’t mention is that KIPP has a reputation for counseling out its poor performers; see the 8th grade caveat which greatly skews its results again and that KIPP spends about a third more than public schools do to educate their kids.

He then went on to say, KIPP offers a longer school day and year, after-school programs and highly-qualified instructors to teach an academic program that focuses on college prep and character development. Now it is true they do have a longer day but everything I have read indicates their curriculum is kill and drill. Have you noticed how KIPP isn’t replicated at the affluent private schools and how none of the education reformers send their children to KIPP schools? Furthermore many of its instructors are TFA recruits, which takes non-education majors and gives them five weeks of “training” and says good luck. I guess to Chartrand that is highly qualified because it is 5 more weeks of teacher training than he ever received. 

We’re almost there. KIPP after being the worst performing school in Northeast Florida improved to a B its second year, well friends its projected to fall to a C this year, protected by what we could call the Chartrand rule from falling to a D.

I know what you are thinking, would this guy at the top of the food chain, really vote for a rule just to protect one school he had a personal stake in?

My answer is why not. He’s exaggerated publicly their accomplishments and he has a lot invested in them, it would probably be a little embarrassing at the country club if somebody brought it up and people have done far worse for less.

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely correct in raising the question of whether or not Chartrand would compromise himself in order to maintain the image of Kipp as a successful charter - he did - he refused to accept the failure of the program and kept insisting that failure wasn't real. Vitti would do the same, so would Trey Csar none of them have integrity.