Carpe Diem

Despite proven academic success of NYC’s charter schools, the mayor and unions have started a war on city’s charter kids

Success Academy Charters Grades Black (%) Hispanic (%) Free Lunch (%) Statewide Performance (%)
Harlem Success Academy 1 K-6 80.1 17 77.7 97
Harlem Success Academy 2 K-4 77.9 20 75 96.8
Harlem Success Academy 3 K-4 64.3 30.9 80 97.5
Harlem Success Academy 4 K-5 73.5 20 78.5 97.1

The profiles of four Harlem charter schools, operated by Success Academy Charter Schools are displayed above, based on data from the SchoolDigger website and national school database. All four Harlem Success Academy charters serve primarily minority student populations (all are 93.5 to 97.1% black and Hispanic) and low-income households (75 to 80% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch), and yet all are ranked academically higher than about 97% of all schools in New York state based on standardized test assessments in math and reading.

What a truly amazing academic success story!

Q: With those kinds of impressive results for some of the city’s most at-risk student populations in Harlem, couldn’t that proven record of academic success be replicated in all public schools? Wouldn’t you think that these Harlem charter schools would be recognized as academic models for the rest of the city and the state?

A: In a more sane world where students and learning are the No. 1 priority, the educational establishment would be “falling all over itself” to copy the proven educational success of charter schools like the ones in Harlem profiled above. But in the insane world of New York City, the liberal mayor and liberal teacher unions are waging a war on the city’s successful charter schools like the ones operated by Success Academy Charter Schools. Preservation of the status quo and a continuation of the current failed public school model, and preserving its power, are the primary concerns of the teachers unions and their administrative enablers, which now includes the new New York mayor.

Q: What’s happened, I thought liberals were supposed to be the ones who most want to help, not hurt minorities and poor people? How does waging a war on minority charter kids from low-income households in NYC fit into the liberal agenda?

Updates: Here are some recent news reports on Mayor de Blasio’s war on the city’s charter schools predominantly poor and minority students attending charter schools:

De Blasio starts his war on charter schools

New York’s de Blasio boots charter schools from city space

De Blasio Starts the War on Charter Kids

Cantor accuses de Blasio of waging a ‘war’ against children in N.Y. charter school debate

21 thoughts on “Despite proven academic success of NYC’s charter schools, the mayor and unions have started a war on city’s charter kids

  1. People who succeed don’t need liberals. Gov Brown is doing something similar on the other side of the country by taking resources from successful districts and reallocating to poor performers.

    • You know I saw this happen in a retail business. Someone had the bright idea to reduce marketing spend in the highest performing markets in order to increase it in the lower performing markets. Not surprisingly the whole company suffered for awhile.

  2. There are real questions about how they accomplish these scores. It is not clear that success on these tests is the most important metric. Also, could you please define “war”? Every other time I see “war” it is a bad thing. What are they actually doing?

    • steve

      There are real questions about how they accomplish these scores.

      What are those questions? Do you think there was cheating? References please, if you have anything other than insinuations to present.

      It is not clear that success on these tests is the most important metric.

      What, then, IS the most important metric? The fact that predominantly poor, minority students in these schools preform better on standardized reading and math tests than 97% of all students statewide seems pretty impressive. It really casts doubt on the continual leftist mantra that racial discrimination and poverty are the causes of poor academic performance, eh?

      Also, could you please define “war”? Every other time I see “war” it is a bad thing. What are they actually doing?

      The Mayor and his supporters in the teachers union, are going to pull the plug on NYC charter schools, despite the obvious success of some of them. It presents a clearer view of what’s actually important to them. It’s sure not the students.

      • Liberals don’t like tests because they emphasize real useable skills. They prefer to teach unmeasurable less important soft skills such as teamwork and Political Correct thought

    • Yes. We need to measure “emotional intelligence,” as well, since it is a much better indicator of children’s educational success. I’m sure that “Progressive” Detroit has a very high emotional intelligence, even though 70% of adults are functionally illiterate.

      • glenn-

        don’t forget “self esteem”.

        who cares if you can read and do basic math so long as you feel good about your illiteracy and innumeracy and have a shelf full of trophies from “everyone gets a prize day”?

  3. By calling them ‘liberal’, you are letting them win.

    They are not liberal at all, but rather illiberal, rigid, angry, and tyrannical.

    They are leftist. By agreeing to their narrative that you refer to them as ‘liberal’, you cede half the battle to them.

    Much like North Korea is called ‘Democratic People’s Republic’, or the Chinese army is called ‘People’s Liberation Army’…

    • I get your point, but the word “liberal” has a well earned stench. That’s why the Left usually runs from the term and refer to themselves with their original “progressive” or dishonestly call themselves pragmatists without any particular ideology.
      We should not let them get away with it.

    • I always call leftists “liberals” and “Progressives” (always in quotation marks). Mockery of their own labels is more effective than re-labeling or name-calling (Despite “liberals’” open embrace of policies from countries that they acknowledge are socialist, “liberals” still consider the term socialist as “name calling,”), in my humble opinion.

  4. Keep in mind that in a mature democracy (women have been voting for 94 years now), anything that gives paychecks/payments to women without accountability is politically sacrosanct. Nothing, and I mean nothing, supercedes this in political priority.

    *Teacher’s Unions
    *Obamacare (transfer from men to women)
    *Useless Government jobs (most of which go to women)
    *Changing the military to make it easier for women (remove the pull-up/push-up requirement)..
    *Welfare varieties that leftists love
    *Welfare varieties Conservatives love (‘child support’ aka stealth alimony aka socialism that conservatives get enthusiastic about).

    The dominant function of all levels of government in the US (and UK and Canada) today is to transfer money from men to women, even if it conflicts with the interests of children.

  5. I’ve visited a couple of these schools. They are marvelous with the kids. I’m on the board of Achievement First, a “competing” charter management organization with 25 schools and 8100 students. We think we’re very good, among the best out there, but our people at AF were blown away by some of the pedagogy and curriculum developed at Success, particularly in English Language Arts, critical thinking and deductive reasoning. The Success team invited our folks to come in and learn from them, and we dispatched 9 principals and various curriculum specialists and teacher trainers to spend days observing in classrooms and to pick the brains of their peers at Success as part of our own continuous improvement program. They are outstanding professionals with great integrity and commitment to children.

    • You guys did the right thing. You saw success and you went to check it out and see how you could incorporate it in your own schools.

      But you would think NYC would be all over doing the same. Trying to copy the successful model for all schools – sending key educators to learn the system – instead of trying to shut it down.

    • Jon Sackler

      Thank you for your comment. I’m encouraged by it. It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that there actually ARE folks out there who are interested in kids’ academic achievement, and better ways to encourage it.

      Sometimes it’s hard to hear them through all the noise on the subject of education.

      In my view, children with good critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills will find everything else will come easily to them. I see little evidence of those skills being emphasized in public schools.

    • You can say the same things about drugs, welfare, minimum wage, etc. You think Obama (or Oprah, or Spike Lee, or Colin Powell, etc.) doesn’t know this? Yet, these “leaders” continue to promote the power elitist dogma.

      It shows you how truly superficial the “racist” arguments are.

  6. In any other endeavor the success of alternatives would be judged by the demand among those they serve. The mayor, of course, stands determined to prevent that from happening.

    • Sam

      In any other endeavor the success of alternatives would be judged by the demand among those they serve. The mayor, of course, stands determined to prevent that from happening.

      You probably mean an endeavor depending on the market. The Mayor serves those who helped get him elected, in this case the teachers’ union. The public school system serves its political masters who write the checks. Students are merely a product of this system.

      Vouchers and school choice would go a long way toward correcting this misalignment of interests.

  7. Charter schools are not public schools. They are private schools run with public money. They are not fully accountable to the public (refusing, for example, to allow public audits [as "Success Academies" did]). A Stanford University study showed that most CS’s did no better than public schools; a few outperformed public schools but more underperformed. The CS’s in Massachusetts, for example, had far fewer children who were not English speakers than did the public schools, and had far fewer special needs students. The are often erratic, unreliable and many close after a short period, because there is no standard of quality — a flaw built into the very concept.

    CS’s take money from the school system, whose costs are NOT reduced proportionately; have higher turnover from disillusioned and overworked teachers; are able to offer extras only because of contributions, largely from wealthy and extremely wealthy donors whose stated goal is to privatize public education.

    One of the original proponents of CS’s, and probably the most influential voice — Diane Ravitch –, has completely changed her position and has written scholarly and scientific articles and books demonstrating that they are undemocratic and pernicious and overall undermine our education system.

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