Friday, October 22, 2010


[Continuing the discussion of KIPP which I started in a previous post.]

KIPP schools use the acronym SLANT for required classroom behavior:

Sit up straight
Ask questions
Track the speaker with your eyes

From a typically fawning NY Times article:

[Dave Levin is one of the founders of KIPP.] Levin’s contention is that Americans of a certain background learn these methods for taking in information early on and employ them instinctively. KIPP students, he says, need to be taught the methods explicitly ... Middle-class Americans know intuitively that “good behavior” is mostly a game with established rules ...

And why is behavior so important?

Angela Duckworth published ... a research paper that demonstrated a guiding principle of these charter schools: in many situations, attitude is just as important as ability. Duckworth studied 164 eighth-grade students in Philadelphia, tracking each child’s I.Q. as well as his or her score on a test that measured self-discipline and then correlating those two numbers with the student’s G.P.A. Surprisingly, she found that the self-discipline scores were a more accurate predictor of G.P.A. than the I.Q. scores by a factor of two.

Oh yeah? I'm not surprised a bit. Grades are all about compliance. The compliant, conventional, average kid will outperform the unconventional genius every time.

For a little balance, here's a rare critical article about KIPP, from the LA times: Long days, strict rules mark schools.


  1. PsychMom says:

    I now understand your concern (or was Homework Blues) wondering why Ken Robinson was endorsing this KIPP model in his latest TED talk. He can't truly understand them, because I can't see how he's able to say what he says and reconcile it with what I've just read. Everything he expounds upon is wholly contrary to this model.

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