New research conducted the Western Michigan University reveals that the Knowledge Is Power Programme schools are not doing as well as politicians like Michael Gove think.
According to research highlighted
in the TES this week, KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Programme) schools have "substantially higher" rates of attrition compared with their local school districts, with 40 per cent of African-American boys leaving between grades 6 and 8 (Years 7 and 9). It also suggests that KIPP schools have very selective admissions, cherry-picking what Professor Dylan William calls the "low-hanging fruit" in poor communities.
The report, What Makes KIPP Work
, by researchers at Western Michigan University, shows that, overall, between grades 6 and 8 KIPP cohorts dropped by 30 per cent.
Taking private and public funding together, the study says that KIPP schools received an average of $6,500 (£3,996) more per pupil than their mainstream counterparts.
"If KIPP wishes to maintain its status as an exemplar of private management of public schools, rather than a new effort to privatise public schools, it will need to convince policy-makers and the public that it intends to recruit and serve a wider range of students and that it will be able to do so with sustainable levels of funding comparable to what other traditional public schools receive," the report says.
This report has implications for government policy and the way some academies run their operations in this country; companies like ARK and Harris consciously model their schools on the KIPP one while Michael Wilshaw has turned himself into the top headteacher in the country using their techniques at Mossbourne Academy. But, as I've written about before in the New Statesma
n, where I point out some of the issues about KIPP that have now appeared the Michigan report, the reality behind KIPP is rather dark: they have no over-arching, enlightened philosophy, only an absolute obsession with micro-managing children to attain great results. This leads to very high drop-out rates and concerns about what happens when such "controlled" children leave the school