Charter Schools

Success Academy Charter Schools Are a Big Success

The education establishment hates them.


Kids who attend New York City's Success Academy charter schools do remarkably well.

"We are No. 1 in student achievement in the state," says founder Eva Moskowitz, "outperforming all the wealthy suburbs."

They do. Although they teach mostly poor kids, 95 percent pass the state math test, and 84 percent pass the English test. Pass rates at government run schools are 38 and 41 percent. How does Success Academy do it?

For one thing, she keeps kids in class longer. Middle schoolers stay until 4:30 p.m.

Is that too much stress for kids, I ask?

"China and India are not worrying about the length of the school day," she replied. "We have to toughen up."

From what I saw, "toughening up" doesn't make kids hate school. Many told me they "look forward" to going to Success Academy in the morning. One called school "rockin' awesome!"

"Kids like succeeding," explains Moskowitz.

Despite this success, or because of it, the education establishment hates Moskowitz.

When she tries to open new schools, activists protest. New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio complained, "It's time for Eva Moskowitz to stop having the run of the place!"

"Why do they hate you?" I asked.

"What we prove is that there's nothing wrong with the children," she replied. "There is something wrong with a system, a monopolistic system that is not allowing kids to succeed."

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) got his political start as a socialist, has praised Cuba and Venezuela, and isn't fond of competition. To protect New York City's taxi industry, he tried to block Uber and Lyft.

He doesn't understand that competition helps more people than it hurts.

Some specific criticisms of charters like Success Academy:

Criticism No. 1. They are "a scam," says "Young Turks" TV commentator Nomiki Konst, "better funded—by these hedge funders—and they're performing worse than underfunded schools."

But Konst is wrong. Charters like Success Academy do more with less. New York City's regular public schools get $20,000 per pupil.

"I only get $14,500," says Moskowitz.

Criticism No. 2. They get better results because they just accept better students. They skim the cream off the top.

"Simply not true," replied Moskowitz. "We admit by random lottery."

That's also true. But one educator who watched my YouTube video on Success Academy emailed me with Criticism No. 3: "Only certain parents enter lotteries. You don't have the homeless kids, foster kids, kids whose parents are in jail."

Fair point. I asked Moskowitz about that.

"Most of our kids are from very poor families," she replied. "Yet they significantly outperform kids from suburbs … where the average household income is eight or nine times what our families earn."

And even some homeless kids flourish at her schools, she says. "About 1 in 10 of our scholars are homeless, yet 97 percent of them passed the state math exams and 84 percent passed reading."

Criticism No. 4: Charters kick out problem kids or "counsel them out." They demand so many meetings with parents that parents eventually withdraw their kids.

But "our retention rate's higher than the city schools'!" answered Moskowitz. She's right. Only 10 percent of kids leave her schools, while 13 percent leave regular schools before completion.

Criticism No. 5: Some charters turn out to be worse than government-run schools. That's true. But the beauty of choice (a market) is that the good schools grow while inferior ones close. For years, bad government schools never closed.

In her new book, "The Education of Eva Moskowitz," she explains that she's a Democrat who didn't always believe in school choice.

"I was blinded, I think, by a belief that big government was a good thing."

Now she knows better.

Many families also now know charters may be better. Parents line up for lotteries where government rations out the small number of admissions. Kids who don't get picked sometimes cry.

It's cruel and unnecessary for government to limit choice this way, but many politicians have an investment in maintaining the power of bureaucrats and teacher unions.

Thankfully, some kids will have better lives because people like Eva Moskowitz fight the system.


NEXT: Jeff Sessions' Cruel Prescription for Pain

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  1. Didn’t we already get this article? Wasn’t it one of JFS’s videos?

    1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

      This is what I do…

  2. My kids are currently in 3 different lotteries for 3 different types of public schools.

    We have magnet programs in middle school here. They put them in the worst schools to boost test scores – then they segregate the magnet kids from “general population” (yes, they actually use that term) and give them the good teachers. You have to qualify, but then actual admission is by lottery. So you can be a straight A student with top 1% test scores and still not make it in to the lottery. Kind of a waste of talent, IMHO.

    Then we have a couple of university sponsored public/private schools that are half education, half research platform for educators who study education. They are well funded and only available by lottery.

    If you don’t make it into one of those options, then you start looking at forking over ten or fifteen grand for private school. Up to twenty five grand for the really elite school, with an expectation of another several grand in fees and donations.

    So at least we have options. They aren’t ideal ( I recently toured the middle schools – yikes! they are really rough outside of the magnet kids), but having 3 ways to get better education without going bankrupt is a good option.

    Better still would be to have every option be a good option. But I suppose that is asking for too much.

  3. they just accept better students

    Yes, please.

    Charters kick out problem kids

    Yes, please!

    What parent looks at a school and says “I want my kid to be surrounded by violent dummies”?!

  4. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did


  5. “rockin’ awesome!”

    That kid was a plant. I can tell you that.

  6. Mr. Stossel, again a fine report of what is happening. Filled with an honest take, including the acceptance of weak points. Well done and thank you.

    Editors, this is a fair article. I say fair because it misses a lot of examples that as an editorial board I would hope you would demand. Maybe not of Mr. Stossel alone, but from other writers as well. Ther states have such schools. Some ar e run well, some are horrible. I expect that you would showcase more in either an article like this, or a series of articles on this (or any topic).

    Being Los Angeles based, you are likely aware of the changes in the LAUSD Board, the success of many charter schools, their unique approach, the importance of groups like The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, Great Public Schools Now, ExED, and others. I believe if you reached out to them, you could gain great information for your readers, and well as generate more awareness for Reason.

    I look forward to your continued success.

  7. I’m no fan of public schools but my experience with private schools is not much better. Private schools in my area do “cherry pick” the best students or, at least, get rid of the worst ones, most of who end up back in public schools. I’ve seen good and bad teachers at public schools, as well as very expensive private schools. With my own child, it’s just been the luck of the draw regarding teachers. In either public or private, you better be willing to home school your child at night and teach them the basics – it seems that all day long at school is spent attend plays, learning about black history, how the white man has ruined everything, etc.

    1. I agree that home schooling is generally the best option, but your comment talks about everything but the actual subject of this article, a public charter school. Choosing a good public charter school is by far the best option if you aren’t going to home school and aren’t super rich.

  8. Charters Kill True Choice – How many years has this woman been warning the USA!!!!
    While many conservatives are out in the political world Opposing the Crisis of Common Core few realize that the pre-digested, pre-determined SOLUTIONS being proposed and implemented by the Power Elite are to eliminate grassroots America..
    Hello Global Governance….…..byt128.htm

  9. Who you going to believe, some woman with a bunch of facts, or the unions with a bunch of votes?

  10. Great article! Ridiculous shame how our education system works. I could not believe that stat that only around 50 friggin percent pass basic tests to read and math. Disgusting. The whole education edifice needs to be destroyed to include colleges.

  11. It was a big success for me to find this site that helps me along educational years at school. If you want to have a good grades you should visit it!

  12. nrc legacy data is out for the public verificattion now…

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