Monday, May 23, 2011

Revolution Prep? Really?

Jake and Ramit would like you to think that they have started a revolution in test prep, and that they "had a vision to transform education and provide the highest quality instruction to all students regardless of their ability to pay."

They even call themselves "Revolutionaries."

I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially since they pride themselves on "never turning a student away because he or she could not afford our program."

Two things changed this:

Strike One:
Last fall I proctored an exam given to our top freshmen. I was assigned to do so by the school, had no problem doing it, but want to make it clear that I do not work for the company.

My problem? The only way for the kids to get their results was to drag their parents out to a meeting with the Revolution Prep folks on an assigned evening. I wouldn't have stood for this as a parent. I had no dog in the fight, though.

Strike Two:
Today I stumbled upon a poster advertising Revolution Prep in the hall leading to the cafeteria. (The advertising was discreetly veiled as a top 10 list of ways to improve test scores, no more offensive than the American Dairy Association's poster urging young adults to drink cow juice which is, to be fair, plenty offensive.)

Their advice?
"Write like a robot, not like Shakespeare."

We're a Title 1 high school. Most of our kids are not going to apply for their $2899 private tutoring course--we don't have that kind of money in Bloomfield, and if we did, we'd spend on something with more value.

But I'd bet that a child whose parent can afford that kind of juice won't be told to "write like a robot."

Maybe I'm wrong--maybe some parents encourage this kind of nonsense....
The painting is "Liberty leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix, presumably in public domain


Joshua M. Rosenberg said...


doyle said...

Dear Joshua


Nate said...

So they are saying that the "revolution" is to train students to imitate superficial symptoms of excellence while avoiding the pitfalls of naively engaging in an actual pursuit of excellence? I'm pretty sure that's not a new way of thinking. It does sound marketable, though.

Anonymous said...

I work/worked at Revolution Prep as a teacher for the last 6 months. I can say without doubt that the whole company is a load of crap. They treat their instructors like dirt, dress up a bunch of rudimentary knowledge in high-tech clothing, and act like they're saints. Ramit and Keith appear to be as douchey as douchey gets. Some revolution indeed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can answer the question I've been looking for - why oh why is Revolution Prep in every high school in America?? They teach bad information under the guise of sponsorship by the school. Does the school get a commission or kickback? It doesn't make sense...

doyle said...

To the latest Anonymous,

I deleted your post, but in case it was a real person with a real concern, I will answer it seriously.

If your story is true, and if I read it correctly, you are opening and reading someone else's mail without permission, a federal offense. You compounded your error by publicly listing your district. Think before you post.

In general, if you think something fishy is going on, ask the people involved. Not saying it's a brilliant career move--trust me on that--but it will lead to a more, um, interesting life.