Children in KIPP schools toe the line. The schools are interesting because they are so often cited as one of the most successful charter school chains for students from low income, minority families. Students are recruited from urban schools–some of which have major discipline problems. KIPP takes these problems head on. They have high expectations for learning and behavior. Of course, they have high suspension and attrition rates as well.
The article in this month’s Atlantic reports how KIPP discipline practices are evolving. Can they realistically move from a no-nonsense approach to a more moderate but equally successful experience for more students? Or, is this educational approach only for those who can survive?
Parents willingly send their children to KIPP schools. According to the article, many parents use strong discipline measures at home. They welcome the same approach at schools. It is in recognition that children are in danger on the streets. They need to learn self control. They need structure. The description of the structure and discipline at KIPP schools is mind boggling for more middle class families.
Yet, there is often an acceptance of the need for that approach for others. The parallel between severe consequences for relatively minor offenses in school and on the street is not lost. Both students and their parents are now questioning this ‘no nonsense’ approach. In New Orleans, there have been open protest demonstrations. Evidently, KIPP administrators are listening.
The Atlantic article is called “How Strict is Too Strict?”. It is worth a read.