Monday, April 21, 2014

If KIPP is so bad, what does that say about poor minority parents?

Education blogger Jim Horn, who doesn't let accuracy interfere with his eagerness to condemn charter schools, has yet another post decrying KIPP and similar schools for being eugenicist. He claims that what's going on is "cultural and psychological sterilization of the children of the urban poor, whose defective character traits and anti-oppressor behaviors are being effectively neutralized in the total compliance segregated corporate reform schools that carry the label No Excuses."

Oddly enough, this is rather tame compared to what Horn has said elsewhere -- when asked if he had ever visited a KIPP school, he responded, "no, in fact, I have not, nor have I ever visited a WWII concentration camp." He has also compared KIPP schools to the Jim Jones cult. 

Clearly Horn doesn't like KIPP. But if KIPP is so bad, what does that say about the thousands of poor minority parents who voluntarily sign up for KIPP? No one is forced to attend a KIPP school, after all -- as a charter school, KIPP can't sign up anyone who didn't choose to be there.

Why are poor minority parents choosing to put their kids in cult-like eugenicist concentration camps? There are only a few logical possibilities:

1) Minority parents are deliberately trying to harm their children. Hopefully no one thinks this.

2) Minority parents are unbelievably easy to dupe, and they will never find out from their own children that what they thought was a good school was actually a eugenicist concentration camp. Hopefully no one thinks this either.

3) The public schools are so awful that even a eugenicist concentration camp is better. Perhaps, although it's not clear why public school defenders would want to say this or why they would still want to strip minority parents of what they themselves concede is a better choice.

4) Different people have different beliefs and preferences, and as much as the KIPP environment might be distasteful to some, other people actually prefer it. This explanation is what seems the most obvious to me. I find it troubling that people who otherwise claim to believe in diversity are so eager to condemn diverse people making diverse choices.

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