KIPP - Knowledge is Power Program (student attrition)

KIPP charter middle schools enroll a significantly higher proportion of African-American students than the local school districts they draw from, but 40 percent of the black males they enroll leave between grades 6 and 8, says a new nationwide study by researchers at Western Michigan University.

“The dropout rate for African-American males is really shocking,” said Gary J. Miron, a professor of evaluation, measurement, and research at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, and the lead researcher for the study. “KIPP is doing a great job of educating students who persist, but not all who come.”…
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A charter network that has two schools in Baltimore has a high level of student attrition and of private and public funding that have positioned it to be successful, according to a national report published Thursday.

The report on Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), which opened its first school in Baltimore about a decade ago and recently reached a long-term deal to remain in the city for another 10 years, suggests that the national charter school network's high performance is a result of having advantages over its public school counterparts.

The study, which was published by Western Michigan University and jointly released with Columbia University, "What Makes KIPP Work: A study of student characteristics, attrition and school finance," based its conclusions on publicly available KIPP data measured against districtwide data…

Nationally, the report found, on average about 15 percent of students leave KIPP every year, compared with 3 percent in public schools. Moreover, between grades six and eight, about 30 percent of students drop off KIPP's rolls.

The majority of students who leave are African-American males, the report found, and the schools primarily serve African-American students.

The lead researcher, Gary Miron, called KIPP's attrition a "tremendous drop-off," concluding that he believes "their outcomes would change" without the attrition.

The study also concluded that KIPP's high performance, when compared to public schools, could be a result of serving significantly fewer special-education students and English language learners — two populations that are often less competitive academically and more expensive to educate…

The report's researchers found that in addition to receiving more public funding per pupil than its public school counterparts, KIPP also received $5,760 per pupil from private funding…

"Kids who persist at KIPP do well," Miron said. "But the question is, is KIPP lifting the public schools, or are they lifting the kids who have the support to persist?"

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