Nothing Succeeds Like Success Academy
Charter schools keep educating poor kids—and drawing resistance from liberal politicians.
Another school year, another accolade for New York City’s Success Academy Charter Schools.
On Monday Success Academy was awarded the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. A press release noted that the Success schools “demonstrated the best overall academic performance while closing achievement gaps and serving low-income students and students of color.” Liberals insist that the learning gap between white students and their black and Hispanic peers stems primarily from poverty and racial segregation, but the track record of Success Academy challenges both notions.
Students at Success schools, the first of which opened in 2006, are chosen by lottery. Detractors complain that charter schools teach more-motivated students, but random-assignment studies that control for self-selection bias have found that charter students tend to outperform their counterparts in traditional public schools and are more likely to finish college. Today, there are 41 Success schools serving 41,000 K-12 students—76% of whom are poor and 93% black or Hispanic. In 2016, for the eighth consecutive year, Success schools were among the highest performing in New York state. Ninety-four percent of Success students eligible to take state tests were proficient in math, and 82% were proficient in English—both more than double the statewide average.
“In 2016, black and Hispanic students at Success Academy, on average, performed better than their white peers across the entire state of New York and low-income students performed better, on average, than their non-low-income peers across the state at both the Proficient and Advanced levels in all three tested subjects—English, math and science,” according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Similarly, Success students with disabilities and English-language learners outperformed students without disabilities and native English speakers, respectively, providing more evidence that charters not only accept such students but do a superior job of teaching them.
In other words, Success Academy and its tireless leader, Eva Moskowitz, have brought...
Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal