NYC's Charter Schools vs. the United Federation of Teachers - The Jewish Voice
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NYC’s Charter Schools vs. the United Federation of Teachers

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Eva Sarah Moskowitz is founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools and was a City Councilmember for the Upper East Side, both in New York City.

On April 10, Eva Moskowitz tweeted, “We are here together today because we believe academics are just as worth celebrating as athletics!” This can quickly sum up the entire outlook of New York City’s Success Academy, of which she founded in 2006.

The schools website describes its mission to “Build exceptional, world-class public schools that prove that all children from all backgrounds can succeed in college and life; and serve as a catalyst and national model for education reform and help change public policies that prevent so many children from having access to opportunity.”

“As founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, I know firsthand the depth of the education crisis in New York City. It is exactly what prompted me to open Success Academy nine years ago — after conducting more than 100 hearings as chair of the City Council Education Committee, I was painfully aware of how badly our schools were failing our city’s children,” wrote Eva S. Moskowitz in an Op-Ed that was published in NY Daily News [March 2015].

Success Charter School educates 3,000 bright young children in grades K-12. Last year alone they received over 16,000 applications. The cost for students is nothing and this means competition is tough as a good education is always in high demand. IN New York City there are 143,000 children in schools that are failing. According to tests and standards the education system seems to continue to plummet.

“We don’t support Success just because Eva is passionate about her students. We support Success because the model works,” said Eli Broad, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of two Fortune 500 companies, KB Home and SunAmerica, and author of The Art of Being Unreasonable.

However, not everyone is a fan of charter schools. United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew says that charter schools “counsel out” and he disagrees with this. In layman’s terms that means any student that isn’t keeping pace educationally gets pushed out. He notes this specifically happens before exams.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “The IBO report, released in January, found that—contrary to what some people have come to believe—“students at charter schools stay at their schools at a higher rate than students at nearby traditional public schools.” The IBO reported that charter schools in the city retain 64% of their students, compared with 56% of students retained by district schools. Among special-education students, the IBO found that 53% stay at their charter schools, versus 49% at district schools.”

Mulgrew has been at odds with Success Academy for years. In 2013, he spoke out the schools failing to secure proper work orders for their new school location in Cobble Hill. He reprimanded the Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in a very heated letter.

“It appears that several laws and regulations have been violated — particularly with regard to the handling of PCBs and asbestos,” wrote Mulgrew. “Worse, it appears that the DOE willfully allowed these violations to occur and then was complicit in covering them up.” In addition, Mulgrew said that the DOE gives the charter school preferential treatment.

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