Haley Scholars Fall 2013 Reading Groups
The “Marita’s Bargain” chapter focuses on a leading college-prep school,
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
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; the times that the school day
begins and ends are re-adjusted; and students are instructed to pay
attention in, well, more attentive ways in class. 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.”
What aspect of the KIPP Academies system was most promising or problematic to you? Why or how so?
I think the statistics given about most students being where they need to be (as far as reading and math skills) when in KIPP is the most promising. I like the fact that it is almost guaranteed because those rates were 80% and above.
However, I do think that children should be given a break. In the chapter they did say that over studying can be the cause of mental disorders. I think over studying with children can cause them to lose their childhood along with their minds.
Overall, if there is a balance, I think that KIPP is an amazing opportunity!
I'm not sure if I completely agree with how the curriculum is set up. As much as I believe music education is important, I feel that requiring every child to do orchestra is problematic when the music class they have would suffice. Only because some children are more musically inclined.
Another problem I see is just in general it seems to overwork the children. They go to school for more hours than a full-time working adult and that seems like it would cause a strain on the child's health.
An aspect of the KIPP Academics system that I found problematic was attending school on Saturdays and far smaller summer breaks. I found that problematic because although students may do much well in school, they won't get to spend quality time with their family and friends as much. I believe that can cause depression and other issues which will, in turn, hinder their education.
The stats about where students need to be is the most promising. But children should be given breaks from constant studying. Over studying can cause many physical and mental problems for children such as mental disorders and stress. Over studying can cause them to lose meaningful times in their childhood.
I thought the extended hours while annoying are smart. These students appear to make tremendous academic accomplishments which they otherwise would not. I really like there system and believe it should be adapted and applied in more schools.
I found various aspects of the KIPP Education system troubling, but the time they arrive and school and how long they stayed was the most alarming. My high school started at 7:45 and ended at 3:10 and that was already one of the longest school days in my state. My teachers would complain that students retain information better after 9 or 10 o'clock. I cannot imagine having to get up at 7:25 and stay until 7. That doesn't even take into account any extracurricular activities that the students might partake in.
That is way too much for high schoolers to be handling, let a lone middle schoolers. In the long run, that is doing more harm than good. It is unhealthy to be in school for that long.
The statistics seemed to be the most promising aspect of the KIPP Academics system. The 650 students from a public school system in Baltimore were followed from first through fourth grade. They took the California Ahievement Test and progressed rapidly annually, though the socioeconomic status was evident based on scores.
I was taught that it's not how you begin it's how you end. They're succeeding academically and of course have their weaknesses but progression is evident.
I found the number of hours that the students are spending at school and at home on homework problematic. As they stated some student are at school for almost twelve hours a day and then go home and work on homework for a few more hours. With a schedule like this I feel like the students are missing on spending time with their family and friends, and therefore missing out on se of the most memorable times in their life. I also feel like this schedule will eventually take a toll on their health. Another than these problematic areas I think that KIPP sounds like a great program given it's results.
I think the most promising strategy in Kipp was the curriculum and the amount of hours they're at school everyday. Initially I thought that having children in school for that long of a time was harsh and would only tire them out. However after reading I learned that this teaches the children endurance and motivation. I think this strategy is also important because it teach them self control. For most people self control isn't learned until your older because you're so dependent on your parents controlling you, however with their extended schedule these children learn from a young age.
One of the most promising aspects of the KIPP academy is the amount of time spent in each class. Like with their math class being two hours long, they have more time to slow down and get a good understanding of material, rather than trying to cram a lot of information into a fifty-five minute time frame. They're actually taking their time to learn.
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