To commemorate the recent release of Waiting for Superman on DVD and Bluray, I present to you a recent study from Western Michigan University on the reason behind the KIPP schools and their reputation for high performance. According to the study, they have “an annual attrition rates of 15 percent compared to roughly 3 percent in the comparable school districts.” But, that isn’t the best part. The study also found that they lose 40 percent of their African American males between the 6th and 8th grades. Furthermore, KIPP schools spend $6,500, nearly $6,000 of which is from private donations, per pupil. The article doesn’t state what the comparable figure is for students in public school, but I’m going to assume it isn’t significantly more.
What this study shows is that KIPP loses its low performing students, thereby maintaining a high performing school. In a response to the KIPP schools and its supporters who were dissatisfied with the study, the Nonprofit Quarterly had this to say:
No one, including Miron or his team, is challenging KIPP outcomes. They are simply pointing out that KIPP is able to achieve these outcomes by having the traditional public schools available to accept without question any and all students that KIPP cannot or will not be able to serve, for whatever the reasons, and by having access to resources that the traditional public schools do not have.
Upon reading the actual study findings, the results are even more interesting. Click on the first link above for a summarized report from the Nonprofit Quarterly, or read the study yourself right here and form your own opinion.