Don’t let an unapproved KIPP school displace immigrants and students of color

State Board Of Education

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We, the undersigned, support our school board’s decision to turn down KIPP charter school’s bid to add an unneeded and unapproved school in the Bayview that will displace immigrants and students of color.

Instead, we want to use our precious public resources (our taxpayer money) to support the expansion of democratically controlled community schools that provide wraparound support services to students and their families. We support the existing Bayview public schools: Carver Elementary, Malcolm X, Bret Harte, and Dr. Charles Drew. We don’t want to see a KIPP charter school displace immigrant students and students of color at MEC, Malcolm X or other public schools.

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We sign this petition for the following reasons:

We already have good schools in the Bayview, including a newly rebuilt school, Dr. George Washington Carver Elementary School. The “Carver Village” campus, features a 1) computer lab, offering courses in computer coding, 2) light-filled library filled with diverse books, 3) wellness center staffed with social workers, and 3) family engagement team staffed with a family liaison who is also a parent herself, and the co-chair of the African American Parent Advisory Council. Its principal, Emanuel “Julio” Stewart, is a native San Franciscan, who started as a paraprofessional in SF schools, and moved up the ranks to become a principal. Why do we need to invest resources in another school when we have so much to offer at Carver and other schools?

KIPP’s achievement results are misleading. Reports are common of children being “counseled out,” meaning those with challenges or lower achievement data are pushed out to the public schools. Targeted recruitment and enrollment excludes many children who are English-learners, disabled, homeless, or in foster homes. KIPP holds children back to prevent them from lowering test scores. As of this February, 150 students who were previously at KIPP school are now attending SF Unified public schools.

Our local, elected school board’s decision should be respected and not overruled by an appointed Sacramento board. The San Francisco School Board denied KIPP’s petition on the grounds of its questionable finances, ability to effectively serve Bayview students and achieve its stated outcomes, and its lack of due process rights for families. In addition, we remain seriously concerned about the conflict of interest between the local school and its national funders. San Francisco has approved charter schools in situations where they are useful or operated by a local entity, even other KIPP schools. In the Bayview, our public system offers a better option for elementary school students. We ask that the state board of education respect our elected officials’ decision!

We want schools controlled by our community - not by a Walton-funded corporation, with their very highly paid executives running our schools. Some Senior KIPP executives pull in almost half a million dollars each, financed by hundreds of millions of dollars of funding by the Walton Family Foundation, with close links to Betsy DeVos and a board composed of Waltons and other corporate executives. If the State Board ignores our local board’s decision and approves KIPP, our neighborhood schools’ budget and services will be cut. Public funds should go to public, democratically governed schools that serve all students, not privately managed charters that selectively choose which students to enroll.

There’s KIPP abuse and #MeToo revelations. KIPP’s militaristic teaching and discipline practices have been called out as overly controlling and abusive. KIPP’s board kept on executive Mike Feinberg in his position for nearly fifteen years after payment for a settlement of a sexual exploitation of a minor against him was paid. This is not acceptable behavior for a company which wants to run our schools - where children are vulnerable.

We want to keep our public buildings - and protect our communities from gentrification. Public school property should remain in the public domain, not be managed by private organizations. For every “new” school a charter opens, our district must give much needed school space away. This means forced co-locations where charters push into existing schools and divide school communities. In so doing, they take away needed resources such as wellness centers, libraries, and family engagement spaces. In some cases, they force the closing and relocation of existing schools, further traumatizing schools that serve our neediest communities. Charters increase displacement and gentrification by only taking over space in low-income Black/Brown neighborhoods.

We, the undersigned, support our school board’s decision to deny the expansion of the charter organization, KIPP, in adding an unneeded and unapproved school in the Bayview. We urge that our precious public resources (our taxpayer money) be used to support our neighborhood public schools.

**Photo credit: Brant Ward, The Chronicle
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San Francisco, CA

To: State Board Of Education
From: [Your Name]

Please take our petitions & testimony into consideration & uphold SFUSD's decision to deny a new KIPP charter school.