Paul Thomas is unimpressed by the latest study of KIPP by Mathematica Policy Research.

He firmly rejects the “no excuses” model of schooling, in which students are constantly monitored and disciplined for the smallest infractions. He believes it is classist and racist.

His main point is that the means do not justify the ends. If one’s only goal is higher test scores, they can be produced by coercion. But that is not good education. It old be akin to amputating a limg as a means of weight loss: it works but why would you do it.

Thomas quotes David Whitman, who wrote a book lauding “the new paternalism.” It is called “Sweating the Small Stuff,” a paean to no-excuses schools. (One of them, the American Indian Charter School in Oakland, may be closed because of financial improprieties by its intemperate founder [not because the school–intent on getting higher test scores–has few students of American Indian origin]). Interestingly, Whitman is Arne Duncan’s speech-writer. This explains in part why Duncan is such a big fan of “no excuses” schools. Schools for “other people’s children.”