KIPP Does Not Expel Students for Better Test Scores
The CREDO study doesn’t say that good schools can’t get better of course. Here’s an example in a column by Jay Mathews of KIPP College Prep High School in DC, which had to expel 17 students last year, “about 6 percent of the student body, as the school had four serious fights and a drug incident.” “Ah ha!”, a critic might say, “Yet another example of charter schools expelling the worst students, thereby making themselves look better!” While there is some truth to this critique of charter schools in general, it’s not true at KIPP. Here’s what happened:
Schaeffler said, “We have made changes in our procedures at the high school, things as big as revisions in our demerit system and as seemingly small as changing the procedures for passing periods.”
This school year, Schaeffler put 34-year-old former D.C. teacher Cunningham, one of KIPP’s most successful school leaders, in charge of the high school. Transition time between classes was cut from five minutes to three. Hallway pass rules were changed. Cunningham increased one-on-one meetings between students and their homeroom teachers and instituted a weekly community meeting for each grade, allowing students to share their thoughts with school leaders.
Violence has declined. Only two KIPP College Prep students have been recommended for expulsion this school year. Only 12 students have been expelled so far from all KIPP D.C. schools, just 0.3 percent of enrollment.