A few months ago I visited the New York City KIPP High School and wrote a post about it. That post was called ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’ by a lot of people on Twitter, which I’m happy about because it took a lot of restraint to write it that way. As they were very gracious over there and gave me free reign to go wherever I wanted into whatever class for whatever amount of time, I didn’t want to be too rude of a guest. I never said that I wouldn’t write about what I saw. Nothing was ‘off the record.’
I also exercised restraint because I’ve known the two founders of KIPP, Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg for over 20 years. They were not people I hung out with often when we were doing TFA in Houston at the same time, but they were people I saw at parties and have spent time with them over the years. They were the subjects of my second letter to reformers I know.
I was hoping to get a response back from them, but since that doesn’t seem so likely, I’m not sure that a bridge that has already been burned can be burned again. Anyway, for this post I’m going to share a photo I took. This is not a really big incriminating thing, but maybe when I get warmed up I’ll give some more details about what I saw (and heard) in the future.
KIPP High School has a lot of money. This is why their teachers only have to teach four classes a day, rather than the standard five, and why their class sizes seem to be around 20 students a class. It costs money to have such a low student to teacher ratio so any examination of their success should consider this. KIPP High has so much money that they will be moving into their own building next year.
KIPP High has 9th through 12th graders. The current 9th graders would be scheduled to graduate in 2016. What caught my eye was this poster explaining why the class of 2017 (was this meant to be 2016, or do most kids take five years to graduate?) needed to pay $400 in senior dues. And just in case any students or parents were upset by this cost, they explain in this poster that the families should be grateful since the ‘retail’ price of these goods is actually $858.
With all their money, can’t they just get someone to donate the senior dues for these kids? I wonder if they get their money back if they don’t make it through 12th grade.