The Hoax of Waiting for Superman
KIPP charter schools came onto the radar when Rod Paige of teachers are terrorists fame was appointed Secretary of Education by George W. Bush. (You may read about the type of education KIPP delivers to children in Would you send your child to this school? -- Eleven-month school year, nine-and-a-half hour school days, every other Saturday, two hours of homework, no frills, and so on.) Two wannabee teachers, David Levin and Mike Feinberg, both Teach for America recruits, wanted to start a school, and Rod Paige gave them a chance. Jay Mathews chronicles their attempt at teaching in his book Work Hard. Be Nice: How two inspired teachers created the most promising schools in America (gag), 2009, page 23:
Any professional teacher would have been fired for falsifying credentials, man-handling students, packing kids into the back of a U-Haul moving van to transport them on a field trip, and many other egregious violations documented in the book. Warning: If you are a professional educator or someone who cares about kids, you need a strong stomach to read this book.
KIPP stands for Knowledge Is Power Program. It comes from a chant Levin teaches his students:
That chant seems to have resonated with David Levin who, according to IRS reports, does quite well for himself as Superintendent/Trustee of KIPP Academy Charter School in New York City. Some educators worry about what privatized corporate education will look like. Will "education reform" mean high CEO salaries, bonuses, and elaborate getaways for employees while scrimping on teacher salaries, curriculum, equipment and supplies for kids? Not to worry. The future is now.
A cursory look at IRS Form 990(2008) for some KIPP entities signals the future of privatized corporate charter schools. This information is available through the IRS and other sources. This is by no means a complete report on the income of Levin whose tax return is private. This is what I was able to surmise after searching only one hour on Guidestar at the public library.
In total, according to IRS documents, in 2008, David Levin worked 100 hours a week at six KIPP affiliated organizations for $350,756.
Let's do a quick calculation. The total in "other salaries and wages," divided by the typical number of employees required to generously staff a school enrolling 253 students including secretaries, teachers, teacher assistants, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, nurses, therapists, and others for a total of 50 employees. Now let's pay them all equally just to make the calculation a simple one. That's $4,304,147 divided by 50 employees.
Every employee would make over $86,000 excluding benefits.
Let's do another calculation.
Do CMOs like KIPP intend to subsidize all charters to this extent?
The per pupil expenditure is $30,778, but the government only provides $13,602.
One more thing.
I’m guessing these are not field trip expenses and the participants did not arrive in U-Haul moving vans.
Currently, KIPP is a public charter school network supported by our tax dollars. Information on many other public corporate school networks can be found at Education Watch at the Great Schools for America website. I encourage you to choose any one of the nonprofit charter school networks and look into the financial records. Imagine Schools is a good place to start.
While these amounts may not be substantial by Wall Street standards, the enormity of these expenses in the education profession is outrageous. Taking candy from babies.
When I had the documents scrutinized by a Certified Public Accountant, he said with authority there seems to be corruption here.
We have a constitution and case law to protect the right of our children to an equitable education. The President, the Congress, and the Billionaire Boys seem to have forgotten that. If the wealthiest Americans are able to usurp our neighborhood public schools, we will truly have lost democracy.
Something's rotten in these United States of America.
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