Equity & Diversity Opinion

At Some KIPP Schools, KIPPster-ettes Outnumber KIPPsters

By Eduwonkette — June 20, 2008 2 min read
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If you’re not already enjoying Richard Whitmire’s new gender blog, you could be. Yesterday he wrote that KIPP “is an important player in the boy troubles” because boys at KIPP start 5th grade behind the girls, but catch up to them by 7th grade.

This may very well be true, but there’s another KIPP gender story that has received less attention: many KIPP schools have non-trivial gender imbalances and lose boys at a faster rate than they lose girls. Certainly I’m not the first to point this out, as the San Francisco Schools blog reported a year ago that African-American boys leave Bay Area KIPP schools at alarming rates , a finding that Ed Week followed up on in this article on KIPP attrition.

To check out the gender balance in New York area schools, I looked up the School Report Card data for KIPP Bronx and KIPP TEAM in Newark, the two KIPP schools in the area that were at full scale (i.e. they serve grades 5-8) when the last round of NY and NJ school report cards were released. From the disaggregated test score data, I pulled the number of girls and boys tested in grades 5 and 8. This is a decent proxy for the gender composition by grade, which is not available elsewhere - though it’s certainly possible that more boys than girls sat these tests out.

In each of these schools, there were more girls than boys in the 5th grade classes. At KIPP TEAM/RISE in Newark (the two schools’ 5th grade numbers are reported together because they’re under the same charter), 62% of 5th graders were girls, as were 58% of students at KIPP Bronx. In the same year, the 8th grade composition was 71% female at KIPP TEAM and 68% female at KIPP Bronx. These data don’t allow us to trace one cohort through school, but they do suggest that more girls are sticking with KIPP than boys. (KIPP’s own report card from this school year also confirms that there’s a gender imbalance in these schools; KIPP reports that 57% of students overall at KIPP Bronx are girls, 54% are girls at KIPP TEAM, and 57% are girls at KIPP RISE.)

The boys who stay at KIPP may, as Whitmire wrote, do extremely well. But it appears that at least in some cities, boys are also less likely to attend KIPP schools - and stay there.

Previous posts on KIPP are here:

* Do KIPP Schools Have a Positive Effect on Their Students’ Achievement?
* When a Lottery Is Not a Lottery
* Does KIPP Provide a Solution to the Problems of Urban Education?
* What Lessons Does KIPP Offer for Urban School Reform?
* Comment on “Lies My KIPP Teacher Told Me”

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