Foolish in Fresno

Defaulting on a $2.3 million loan may spell the end of Fresno, California's KIPP Academy, one of the few high-performing middle schools in the district. The school needs a $5 million grant from the state to stay afloat, but the Fresno Unified School District is withholding its much-needed endorsement. The reasons are documented in a 63-page report of grievances, including the complaint that KIPP hired uncredentialed teachers and didn't follow state testing protocols. The district also alleges that KIPP Academy's principal--who mysteriously quit two weeks ago--used excessive disciplinary tactics. From 3,000 miles away, it's tough to tell what really happened. But we do know that Fresno's inept leadership signed one of the worst collective bargaining agreements in the country and that Fresno's KIPP Academy academically outperforms its traditional neighbors. We also know that parents are fighting like cats and dogs to keep this school open. Fresno Unified might want to try working hard and being nice rather than bullying the competition.

"Backers of KIPP Academy Press Case," by Anne Dudley Ellis, Fresno Bee, March 2, 2009

"Former KIPP Academy principal denies accusations," by Jim Guy, Fresno Bee, February 23, 2009

"KIPP Supporters Rally at Fresno Unified Board Meeting," by Ashley Ritchie and Winston Whitehurst, KMPH Fox 26, February 26, 2009

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