Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bargains and Outliers


The “Marita’s Bargain” chapter focuses on one of those college-prep schools, the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) in a struggling community in New York City. Gladwell gives special attention to one of the students, Marita, and the considerable effort and sacrifices she must make in order to do well at the school. She must rise early and study late into the night

Gladwell argues that KIPP “has succeeded by taking the idea of cultural legacies seriously.” That means that a tradition like summer vacation is replaced with year-round schooling, and the times that the school day begins and ends changes as well as how students are instructed to pay attention in class. And, a student like Marita is given more of a “chance” when someone brings “a little bit of the rice paddy to the South Bronx” and explains “the miracle of meaningful work.”

KIPP Academies seem to have tremendous success assisting young people from poor, neglected environments make it to college. But, what might a KIPP Academy at the collegiate level look like? Perhaps that’s what our activities with the Haley Scholars Academy are all about. So what KIPP-like strategies do you think would be most important for a large group of us to adopt in order to ensure that larger numbers of students of color at the university attain academic and professional success?

Or, what kinds of “bargains” should the university or specific programs like the Haley Scholars Academy create to make opportunities for collegiate success available to more and more students here?

40 comments:

Shawn C said...

When reading about the KIPP Academy and their various techniques for creating an environment and curriculum to give the students the best chance for success, I noticed a few very strong ideas that could be adopted by anyone. First I thought of this school as nothing more than another prep school that parents send their children to just for the prestigious name. However as the chapter went on I started to realize some of these ideas could greatly improve the chances of success for minority students not only in the academic setting, but also in the professional environment also.

The main practice I noticed that I personally think could greatly improve the chances for minorities to succeed was that of the amount of work a student puts into the job they are doing. If a university or employer would adopt the type of work sense the KIPP Academy has then I believe the success of minority students would be inevitable. By adopting the work ethic and sense nothing would ever seem overwhelming too us anymore, in a sense if you look at it this way, if you can bear the brunt of the storm early, for the rest of the way all you have to do is follow the rainbow.

Ian Caveny said...

Hmmm... Reading the section I am very unsure concerning the concept of the KIPP academy. Yes, there is more success, but is there more "pursuit of happiness"? Yes, there is more hard work, but is that the good kind of hard work? I fear that this concept of the KIPP academy is removing some extremely important things that are more important than success. Hard work is extremely important, but hard work is not the center of one's life. The school threatens to become a god in the lives of these kids, for they are spending more of their attention upon their studies than the most important things of life.

On a direct relation to the question presented here, I do not think a KIPP academy is possible at the collegiate level; That is something of individual choice. KIPP academies may help in sending a student from any situation to college, but once they are in college they also have to make their own decision whether to study or do work &c. In other words, it doesn't matter what your background is, college is a kind of leveling field. You can make your own decisions about what is most important and how much attention you give to your studies.

Collegiate success is determined by personal decisions to apply oneself to the work given. That is one's own decision; a KIPP academy or the like before college can increase success, but college is too late to add such a curriculum.

Samantha Martin said...

KIPP Academy at the collegiate level would be similar in the sense that sacrifices would need to be made to further education year round. It may be beneficial to attempt to have semesters year-round (not just summer school in which very few classes are offered), because overall, year-round schools actually get more breaks, but don't get the opportunity to forget as much information in the way that it occurs over summer break.

In the case of the Haley scholars, it is important that we recognize one another, since we all have high standards to maintain and high aspirations for our futures. An important strategy that would aid in this would be to having quarterly meetings so we can make sure we are getting the most out of our college experience and push each other toward further success.

Josh Jefferson said...

I agree with Ian Caveny. While this program is a great success to younger students who can not manage their time well, and have to go to school by law. A college student who chooses to go to school to better themselves is already spending their time at a place of education. Which means they don't need anyone trying to make them study a certain way or show up at a kind of mandatory study group.

As for "bargains" that can be made for student success: The university has made a great start by adding The Student Success Center (writing lab, math lab, etc.) I think it's programs like these where students can choose to go to that help. At a collegiate level I don't believe you can force a student to be successful by implementing KIPP style program, because it all comes down to an individuals personal desires.

Rohan Genge said...

I also belive implementing a good work ethic would be the most beneficial KIPP strategy to instill in college student today. Students at the KIPP academy are not afraid to work hard. They are also willing to allocate most of their free time towards their studies. This is a unique trait amongst students at the KIPP academy that most public school students do not have.

Most college students look at their homework as an obstacle getting in the way of what they really want to do. This mentality is one that is learned at an early age and sticks with you on into the work place. Although this is a hard habit to break, implementing better time management practices and adhering to study schedules can help. Time management is a skill that students at the KIPP academy are constantly improving upon, and it is something we can work on at the collegiate level as well.

Brent Hitchens said...

I believe that just like KIPP, students in universities need to be motivated into adapting his or herself academically through hard work and studying. I also believe that hard work should be adequately proportioned with other personal activities. Haley scholars is a great way to promote intelligence at a different level, as oppose to the academically approach.

natalia H said...

Although the KIPP academy strives for success with its curriculem and learning environment, it does not seem to be completely attainable. No matter how much you improve learning environments, its completely up to the student to do what is necessary to succeed. For example: at SIUE we are given books, teachers who lecture, and in some cases study guides for tests. All the information we need to excel in a class is given to us at the beginning of the semester, but it is all up to us to do what we can with the material we given to succeed.

Shanna Evans said...

It seems to me that the main aspect of the KIPP Academy that leads to their students’ success is the focus on scholarly pursuits. In other words, those students who participate in this program are solely concentrated on school; their entire day revolves meeting the high standards of KIPP. This strategy coupled with hard work and dedication will also lead the Haley Scholars to success.

If you think about the typical college student, he or she probably has a lot going on in their lives. Along with trying to do well in their classes, students have to deal with their social/personal lives. Also, many students have jobs outside the classroom. Trying to balance all of these demands weigh students down and can distract us from focusing on the main reason we are all in college, to get an education.

In order to ensure that larger numbers of students of color at the university attain academic and professional success, it would be ideal if we could eliminate or reduce the number of other distractions. If we did that, we would have more energy, time, and resources focus on doing well at school.

Christen Maul said...

I agree with several of the previous comments. On one hand, I agree a school such as KIPP doesn't have a place at the collegiate level because students are here by choice and have already shown the desire to work hard and be successful just by going to college at all. KIPP is better suited for grade school and high school levels as those are what are actually preparing you for your higher education. If KIPP's ethics and values are ingrained into by the time you get to college, your study habits will be already set.

However, KIPP's level of standards of work are a good example for college students to follow. I think universities need to keep their students' education a top priority as KIPP did. Schools need to expect greatness out of their students and not lower standards, but at the same time offer programs to help those who need it.

Ashley Wilson said...

Well, I have actually discussed this topic before. I worked in child care facilities and with the Urban League. As a former teacher, I have seen the affects of low income status on children. It is not the amount of time that is spent in an institution that gives the child the advantage, it is the support at home. It can not be left up to the schools to raise the children. Already, the instituions are with the children for more hours of the waking day than the parents. Most times, by the time the child and parent make it home, it is time for dinner, homework and bed. This is not anyone's fault because most parents have to work long hours to provide just the necessities.
For some children year round schooling would be better than going home or to the neighborhood they live in. It could be debated for ever for both sides.

As for a college KIPP style environment, I think in some respects we have that already. I am in the accelerated nursing program. I barely have free time. I work constantly and rearely get to see my son and family. However, like everyone has mentioned, it is a choice that I made. I was able to make that choice because I knew it was only for 15 months. But, in my first degree, I did take over 20 credit hours a few semesters, again another choice. I think the best way for college education is what is currently in place. The option to choose where you study and when. If you are a hard worker or an over achiever, there are programs available. If you choose to take your time and enjoy life along the way to success, that is fine as well. And if you need more help financially or with course work, those programs are available as well.

Anonymous said...

ASHLEY O.
The KIPP Academy is a good idea because it give opportunities to black that may never been able to. In our communities blacks often get the worst education because funding and resources are limited. This idea of allowing blacks the ability to make advancements in education is very helpful, because it gives them an opportunatiy to succeed. I actually was in a program of this nature in Highschool called The International Baccalureate program that allowed me to have a rigorous curriculam that I'd never be able to have had I gone to another highschool.
At the collegiate level, it would be important for faculty to acknowledge and encourage those who are succeeding in college. Also have different seminars to introduce students to successful Afican Americans in various professional fields to keep us encouraged. They Haley program would most likely have to lower their GPA requirement making the program acessible to a large variety of students.

Rese said...

Before reading this chapter, I had never thought about summer vacation being the problem with the U.S. education system, but it really makes sense. I can remember my teachers having to spend the first week "reteaching" material from the previous year so that we could move on with the new information. I remember feeling lost at the beginning of most years, then it would come together within a couple of weeks.

I don't think that a KIPP styled system would be ideal at the collegiate level. Students should have a "KIPP" experience in middle and high school to prepare them for higher education, but once a student is in college, the professors have to let go and allow them to demonstrate self-discipline and determination without the pressure of someone looking over their shoulder. True motivation is exhibited when the student keeps going to please him/herself.

I like the idea of going beyond the superficial discovery of the right answer which then allows the students who are not as quick to catch up, but Gladwell doesn't comment on the impact those long class periods have on students who are the first ones to catch on. Are their minds being stimulated enough? Overall, going to school year round would benefit both students and teachers at all levels, but the time spent in school should not be longer than 8 hours.

Amber Lewis said...

I definitely agree with Samantha on this because all we need is to have people that we know have our backs and care about us to really push us. If we are all here for one reason( to get a higher education), then we should be more than willing to help each other as hard times roll around.
There would be a closeness to each other and finding out who we really are is sometimes defined by those we hang around. If we hang around positive, pushing, pressing people, we are bound to get anywhere we want to in life.

Chardae Gray said...

The KIPP Academy seems like an excellent advantage to the underpriveleged students who wanted this opportunity. I partially disagree with it due to the fact that it doesn't incorporate other aspects needed to succeed. In the real world you need more than just book smarts,you need to be able to network,conduct yourself professionally,and communicate. I think that the childhood is one of the most precious times of an individuals life and a child should be able to play and have fun. As far as SIUE, I agree that ultimately the success of a person is up to that person and the resources available are just tools used to achieve success.

Katie D. said...

That's a hard question to answer. Someone mentioned that KIPP at the collegiate level may be impossible. I agree. A lot of college students have things outside of school that require their time, while younger students don't have those responsibilities.

If it were possible for a KIPP like program to happen at the collegiate level, students will have to be willing to spend less of their time in other non-educational endeavors. I don't know if people are willing to make that bargain.

Erik said...

Erik Sanders

First, the story about the KIPP Academy is really inspiring. It made me think of "Stand and Deliver," the movie about latino students who through hard work and a pushing teacher achieved outstanding mathematics scores. I find it interesting that in the case of KIPP students, mathematics seems to be their strong suit.

I feel that one KIPP-like strategy that could definitely be utilized at the collegiate level is getting to class early and staying all day. Too often people get deterred from going to early classes, sign up for late ones, and waste a good part of the day sleeping or watching TBS. I believe that if you can get up, come to school, and make use of your time in between classes, your academics will improve tremendously. In that way, once the "school day" is complete, one can go home for a bit of leisure before knocking out what you did not finish during the day. It is my belief that those types of habits reduce stress and anxiety as things are not left until the last minute. I realize it would be extremely difficult for a university to entice all students to make use of their free time, but maybe a rewards program could be initiated for showing up to "study halls" or group studying sessions.

By plowing through a long day at school, one may better comprehend what the real world will be like. Not many professions facilitate the ability to work for fifty minutes and then take a three hour nap. By staying all day, the students are better prepared for an eight hour day, which by all means can be extremely fatiguing on a person's mind and body.

For those reasons, I feel incorporating a KIPP-like school day would be beneficial for university students.

Kacee Aldridge said...

By instituting programs like KIPP on the university level we increase the likelihood of African American retention as well as success in academics. A strategy that should be implemented is year-round school, although a break is sometimes necessary in order to rejuvenated and refresh our minds I believe that it is important for us to also keep our minds active. I think that universities should make a larger effort to recruit students from underprivileged neighborhoods and environments.

Robert Connor said...

The KIPP Academy did have great ways of improving academic success. The idea of year round school might be very beneficial to some, but for others it might not be. Each person should question themselves as to whether they would perform better in that type of school year or the school year including a summer break. I also agree with the the statement Shanna made about high expectations. For some people the standards are not raised high enough for real results to come, but if the bar is raised and it stays raised either students would apply more effort or start to look at other options.

As far as other things that could be offered to better student success, for one I agree with Josh that the Student Success Center is a great way to improve academic progress. It gives students another place to spend their time during the late or early hours, and with the environment that is set it encourages students to study while there. Also some kind of incentive could be offered to students for achieving certain GPA or similar academic achievement. But something would have to be offered that students value, because it seems like some of the current incentives for academic success does not draw enough motivation.

LaToya Bond said...

latoya b
KIPP like strategies that we need to adopt for academic success would be lengthening the number of hours students are in class, so we can somehow increase what students are learning. We could also switch to year around schooling. Year around schooling seems like it works pretty well. Its unfortunate that we will be in school while other students are out of school for the summer, but going to school for a few months at a time and taking a couple weeks break all year around does not sound that bad. Doing this will help increase academic output just like it did for KIPP students and for students that did work over the summer.

K. Quon said...

To ensure success at the collegiate level, I also believe having good work ethic is the key. If one is driven to achieve goals, they will most likely overcome obstacles that come in their way. In college there are many choices an individual can make, but only by making the right ones does an individual stand at the top.

Some "bargains" that the university should offer to help create success are more Focused Interest Groups in dorms and increased tutoring sessions around campus.

Tina Messenger said...

I definately agree with Josh and Ian. I do not believe that KIPP is appropriate at the college level because by this time we are now adults and being an adult means making a decision as to what amount of time we want or need to put into something. We all have different standards for success and what may be important may not be important to another individual. The important thing behind this section is that we are all are on a level playing field before we enter college.

Charnelle M said...

A person's success is based on how much work they are willing to put in. If they really want to make it somewhere in life then they know they will have to put forth some kind of effort. Something that can be done to help is just encouragement. The more support a person has the better they will be. When students find a group that just wants to be there for them they will strive to do great not just for the group but for themselves.

Denita Campbell said...

I think on a college level it is important to emphasize the idea to just give college students a chance to point that all those opportunities are excellent but what's more important is the have the access to use ones talents. As minorities we lack the materials to use our full abilities as well as having a chance to portray our abilities. As far as KIPP I think it would be hard to manage the possibilities that KIPP offers because once you reach college level the mindsets of adults are different from children concerning their education.I think once your in college level you begin to motivate yourself because now you're paying for your education.

Anonymous said...

I also agree with Ian Caveny and others; KIPP does not belong at the university level. Once a student reaches college, he or she has the choice of success or failure. In general, I think that KIPPs could have long term negative effects if students are over worked. It sounds to me like students could easily become "burned out" from the intensities of the scheduling, sacrifices, and expectations of a KIPP.
I also think that SIUE has a tremendous amount of resources available to the student body. Whomever wants to utilize the resources is more than welcome to do so. Again, success is the responsibility of the individual.

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Daniel SHields said...

I agree with many of the posts above. KIPP is a great program for students gradeschool through highschool, but it is much too late to try to add a program like KIPP to a college. University students have to want to learn. It is not up to administrators or parents to make their students succeed. It is all up to the student.

I believe that forcing a college student to engage in a program like KIPP would do more harm than good. I have seen this situation in several of my fellow schoolmates. Once a student is out of the nest they have to begin to experience things for themselves. Having administrators on your back constantly will make students rebel, just as having parents on you does.

Like I mentioned earlier KIPP is an amazing program and system, but once youh hit college its too late

Tricia Johnson said...

I don’t really think a Kipp Academy is not needed at the college level; once a person makes it to college, success is a personal responsibility. If a student has their priorities straight then school should be at the top of the list and there should be no problems with success. On the other hand if that student doesn’t stay on top of their game then they have no one else to blame but themselves. There are resources available at our school, it’s just up to the student to take advantage of them.

Kamrey Mcnutt said...

Actually, before reading the “Marita’s Bargain” chapter I would always sit and think of things that the university could do in order to ensure academic and professional success among its students. Coincidentally, one of my ideas is closely related to the KIPP strategies discussed in this chapter. At first I questioned if more time dedicated to learning is the key to academic success; however, after reading this chapter I strongly believe that if students are allowed more time to learn and ask questions, then students are more likely to excel academically. In other words, the university offering year long courses is an important KIPP-like strategy that is likely to guarantee the success of more students. Currently, students have one semester to learn everything they are expected to know about the subject they are studying, and then be graded on a comprehensive final exam. One semester is only about four months, including holiday breaks. This leads to professors rushing through their lectures and spending as little time as possible on the different topics. They just really don’t have the time to go in depth about things and still cover everything that needs to be covered. Students don’t have the opportunity to really master subjects because they are not receiving as much detailed information as they could with more time. Of course this strategy would slow the college process, but there would be more professionals with more skill and knowledge about what they do, and more college students experiencing collegiate success.

Morris Pearson, Jr. said...

I think that KIPP "bargains" could be implemented on campus, but only as an option. The idea of having school year round option would be a great idea since it would allow you to graduate early. Having students take classes in the summer time would free up spaces for class normally taken in the fall or spring semesters that are normally filled to capacity. On the other hand some people still would like to have a break between semesters so keeping year round schooling an option would appease them as well.

Paris Owens said...

I’m not quite sure that a KIPP-like program would be beneficial at the collegiate level. I believe I’m leaning more towards the side that it would not. As with getting older, things that are not school-oriented require attention. This is something that young students at the KIPP Academy do not have to deal with. Also, success takes initiative. I feel that at SIUE, I’m given the proper tools to prepare myself for all that class entails. But, in the end, it’s my choice to utilize those tools.
The university has implemented great bargains like the Student Success Center. Also, it is very simple to find a tutor, study group, or live in a Focused Interest Community.

Katherine Clayborne said...

KIPP Academy creates an the atmosphere that leads you to success. It focuses on hard work and dedication, which is a good thing, but what about the rest of a person's life. Hard work is ok but centering your life around it can make life itself kinda stressful. When can you have any type of fun. I understand that hard work and dedication are the key to success, however I feel as though without anything else as a pass time life can be wasted by putting so much emphasis on work.

It would improve chances on minority success but at what cost?

Abagail Thompson said...

Ian Caveny and Shawn C, despite having two very conflicting view points, together form my opinion on how the Johnetta Haley Scholarship Program, like KIPP, can help minorities succeed and reach a collegiate setting. By developing a strong sense of work ethic early on in life,like the one seen in the Outliers, minority youth would be better prepared for the life altering slam that hits a student when they enter the "real world" or even college. By molding and shaping them early, they would be better equipped to succeed.

On the other hand, I believe that education shouldn't overwhelm a student's life or become the center of their universe. Yes, getting a sound education definitely impacts one's life and consequently can determine the quality of one's living conditions, but there are also other important aspects to life as well. Marita had to make a ton of sacrifices to succeed and perform well in school. My only fear is that by school taking over such a huge role in someone's life, they may not succeed in other areas, or may sacrifice something that in the end, they will regret.

Overall, as a large group, it is important that we adopt strong work ethics and dedicate more time to our studies. While doing so though, it is important to still keep a healthy balance of living a normal life outside of the school zone.

Roanda Maldonado said...

I agree with Josh. Being a college student comes with more time management as we are all in the process of becoming successful independent individuals. Choosing to go to school at a collegiate level already shows that the individual is choosing their educational environment and i do not think that the KIPP Academy techniques would be necessary. We know that building someone's work ethics has to come from within and cannot be forced on someone specially not a college student that has a million and one things going on.

As for Haley Scholars, this whole thing about blog posting is new to all of us and i've been having difficulties keeping up with it. I have so much more other stuff going on that i somehow cannot even reach my emails at time, but it has to be done in order to be helped financially by the university. I think that is a KIPP technique and maybe it should have been placed upon since the beginning of the school year to adapt.

Jermel L. said...

The KIPP Academy is an excellent educational program giving minorities in harsh neighborhoods the opportunity to succeed in school. I think that SIUE already has in place ideals from the KIPP Academy such as the 4-3-2-1 guide to success and the student success center. There is no need to try to have an actual KIPP in place in college because one has to go to school, study, do homework when required, etc. On top of that is working and let’s be real college students want a personal and social life. I feel that KIPP retracts from having that balance in life and can in a way be detrimental to one’s overall well-being.

Olufunmilola Ajala said...

I agree with Natalia H. I believe that it is important for students to want academic and professional success before they can achieve it. If a student wants to be academically successful, he or she will take advantage of the resources that are given to help achieve academic success. I believe that there are a lot of resources available to minority students that promote academic success. However, it is the student's decision to whether or not he or she will take advantage of the resources that can help them academically.

Taleah J said...

I enjoyed reading about the KIPP Academy but what concerned me most was that students as well need to be socail and participate in activities as well as school work. I strongly believe that KIPP Academy is a good thing because minority student are being prepared for college and the real world. Alot of times due to financial reasons students are taught differently, where Im from kids don't take school seriously and If this KIPP Academy existed when I went to school then the success rate of minorities will be alot higher just like the KIPP students. In chicago alot of grammer schools and some high school are going all year round because of the poor academic output and also he violence that happens over the summers while students are on vacation. I believe that this is a good thing and hopefully it will show improvement not only academically but in the environment as well.

As for SIUE I agree with everyone else when I say that the student success center is a great way to further a students success. Also the meetings we have with guest speakers are informative as well. Students have to want to succeed and have the drive to succeed. Adopting KIPP at the college level will include alot less activities that a lot of student are not willing to give up.

SierraCarmichael said...

KIPP like strategies that we need to adopt for academic success would be a better success center for students to go to . The success center that we have is mainly for math and not so much for liberal arts. I was a tutor at my old college and I cannot tell you how many of my peers said that they would have dropped the class they were in and even out of college if we did not have the success centers we did. We had two success centers one was for the liberal arts class and the other one was for the math and science classes. But I think the most important technique to learn and master is support. All some students need is consistent support and they will excel through school.

Joe Hines said...

While reading this chapter, at first didn't think that KIPP would be anything special, however continuing to read I saw KIPP was actually a pretty intense program.

I definitely can appreciate the goal/ mission of KIPP as well as their success, but I also agree with Ian Caveny in saying that success should not be at the very center of someone's life. "I personally believe God" should be the center of one's life- but that's a entirely different topic for me.

As far us here at the university and really anyone, there are definitely some things that could be taken from the KIPP academy and applied. One is definitely the work ethic (yet not consuming your entire life with it,) I believe those kid's work ethic is excellent. I also believe that for the easiest transition into such an intense work regime and success prepping lifestyle is have many others right by your side going through the same things you are. Knowing that you have many others studying the same material, putting the same hours, and dealing with the same struggles makes it so so so much easier to not only get by but do it successfully while also helping others get there with you.

A program should definitely be up-started, or one modified to bring about such a community that produces success. The Johnetta- Haley Academy can very very easily create that type of successful environment. Where everyone is motivated to succeed.

Chris jones said...

I do not think a KIPP academy style program would work on a college level. While a child is obligated to attend elementary and high school, a student chooses to go to college and further their academic careers. To impose even more rules on that would seem unnecessary.

On the other hand, the standards of work with KIPP could be applied to a college experience, but they must be implemented by choice.I think many students choose to do this by utilizing the student success center.

Raquel Davis said...

At the collegiate level, I believe that KIPP-like strategies will only aid a student to as far as the effort that that student is willing to make. Programs such as Haley’s Scholar are great in providing the tools to attain success but it is up to the individual student to actually make those progressions. It would be difficult to try to have a KIPP academy at the collegiate level when everyone’s pursuit for success and career path is very different. At the grade school level, everyone’s goal is to prepare for college and the curriculum is standardized. However, at the collegiate level, everyone has different majors and career aspirations making it more difficult to accommodate to each individual.

Jamie said...

In the KIPP schools, they have a high sense of work ethic and that is essential to succeed in anything you do. Success is based on how hard you work and how self-motivated you are to do that work. If you don't follow a strict schedule when you do your work, it isn't helping. I feel that if more things were expected out of students from elementary to high school, there would be a higher success rate of college students, and they would develop good habits for the work place.