KIPP Lacks Accountability and Transparency #MeToo #NotUs

KIPP is having a crisis of accountability and transparency. Most recently, KIPP founder Michael Feinberg (See the post Frank Convo with KIPP’s Mike Feinberg: Do you call BS?) has found himself in serious #MeToo trouble. The NY Times recently reported in the piece Michael Feinberg, a Founder of KIPP Schools, Is Fired After Misconduct Claims

The co-founder, Michael Feinberg, was accused last spring of sexually abusing a minor female student in Houston in the late 1990s, according to someone with close knowledge of the case who was not authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. An outside investigation found her claim credible after interviewing the student and her mother, who both gave the same sequence of events…Investigators also uncovered evidence that Mr. Feinberg had sexually harassed two KIPP employees. One case, in 2004, led to a financial settlement, the letter said; the other could not be corroborated because the woman involved would not cooperate, but the letter found it to be credible.

When I wrote the BS post, I annoyed some of my colleagues because Feinberg had approached the UT Austin College of Education to engage in some of type of partnership. My faculty colleagues thought I was being too critical of Feinberg and KIPP. We clearly haven’t been critical enough.

Since that post, KIPP has grown to be the largest chain of charters in the United States. KIPP is rolling along with its bankrupt approach to education, you can read all about that here.

In fact, you can thank KIPP for the existence of Cloaking Inequity. My back and forth with them back in the day about our Berkeley Review of Education article led to the creation of this blog to push back against their propaganda (See the post “Work Hard, Be Nice?”: A Response to KIPP)

KIPP is now trying to insert more schools into the San Francisco Bay Area. But they are having a problem. They ran into some snags in the local authorizing process at East Side Union High School District. First, the local district said that there are now more charters than neighborhood public schools and they are teetering on financial disaster. Their march towards bankruptcy is occurring even with increased funding from the state the past few years because the loss of students to charters has resulted in massive budget shortfalls. After their 3-2 denial by the district, KIPP then went to the Santa Clara County Board of Education for their second and final attempt at local authorizing. However, that didn’t go well for KIPP because Santa Clara wanted assurances that that KIPP would abide by AB 1090, which is a California financial conflict of interest law. KIPP then refused to abide by California financial conflict of interest laws. What!?

Charters talk on and on about how interested they are in transparency and accountability #NotUs. They tell legislators that they are abiding by the law #NotUs. Then they tell other people that the law doesn’t apply to them (See video below) #NotUs. This sort of malfeasance goes on and on because we allow charters to talk out of two sides of their mouth. We also allow the “good” charters to say, “We are good” and of course there is some “bad.” #NotUs Which ultimately provides cover for the entire sector at the expense of transparency and accountability for children, families and taxpayers.

H/T to Professor Roxana Marachi for the video.

So now KIPP is going to the California State Board of Education on Wednesday where they will be automatically approved because Jerry Brown’s appointees are pro-charter, private-control ideologues just like the governor.

Charters, spare me your local control, transparency and accountability arguments. PLEASE! The evidence otherwise is overwhelming.

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