Cross-posted from Jersey Jazzman:
The justification for closing down public schools and replacing them with charters is that the public schools have tried and failed to serve poor, urban kids, and we have a moral imperative to try something different. The publics had their chance, and they blew it; let’s try something new.
But what if what we’re really doing is trying something old?
Three proposals for a Hope Act charter school here were submitted on time Friday.
The applications came from KIPP Norcross Cooper Academy, which held a press conference to announce its bid, as well as record producer Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies and the Benjamin Franklin Academy.
But officials of the proposed KIPP Norcross Cooper Academy said they hope eventually to serve 2,840 Camden students in grades pre-K through 12. The academy, to rise at the former site of a city school in Lanning Square, would begin with a kindergarten class in 2014, the organizers said.
KIPP, which stands for Knowledge Is Power Program, is a nonprofit chain of charter schools based in San Francisco. The Camden proposal calls for a TEAM Schools model, a KIPP program that has operated for a decade in Newark. [emphasis mine]
A little context: TEAM Academy in Newark may be a fine school, but, as Bruce Baker has detailed extensively, it does not serve the same population of students as its neighboring public schools. Like many (most?) "successful" New Jersey charter schools, TEAM is a "successful" charter because it serves fewer poor, non-English speaking, and special needs children. There is also strong evidence it engages in a pattern of student attrition attrition that artificially inflates its test scores.
This is a nation-wide pattern with KIPP schools. Keep that in mind as we continue:
KIPP ran a charter school in Camden about five years ago, but removed its name from the venture. Ryan Hill, who oversees the TEAM charters in Newark, acknowledged the failure, but said the proposal would be for a different model with different management.
Freedom Academy, the former KIPP school in Camden, has been told by the state Department of Education that it is likely to be shuttered before the beginning of the next school year. [emphasis mine]
Uh, excuse me? KIPP has already run a school into the ground in Camden, but they’re going to get a chance to run another? They are so shameless that they are going to try to run away from their record of failure?
Apparently, KIPP’s CEO, Richard Barth, already backed away in 2009: