Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Success Charter Abuse story spreads: How a New York City charter school uses public shame to get results

I love the "end justifies the means" headline from Business Insider. Eva brags about the outcomes - which everyone seems to accept as legit - I don't. Just like I don't accept the claims there is enormous demand on the part of parents to have their kids in this kind of environment.

One red flag is how Success beat out every other charter - many with the same advantages - by miles - something the chart below doesn't show. This has led competitor Democracy Prep's Seth Andrews to call for Eva to back fill her classes after kids drop out.

We know that most of the parents at Success are coming in with higher levels based on the very nature of the lottery system -- people aware enough to apply -- people have bought into the "public schools suck" argument - you know - those public schools with those union - and way more experienced teachers than Success. Funny how parents opt for a lower level teaching staff because they are sold a bill of goods. And then put up with a socially restricted system devoid of accountability. Eventually they began to catch on and year after year our school fell in district rankings.

I know every trick in  the book to get high scores - I learned them from my principal, who was a joke to other principals in my district - an early version of  Eva. Principals in lower poverty areas of the district used to sidle up to me and ask how she was doing it as my school showed so much higher scores than the others who weren't pulling the same tricks. And they rose so quickly after she took over. Miracles.

One trick she used and Eva does today: Hold loads of kids back in kindergarten or first grade so for the next 5 years they would be a year older when they took the test in their grade. One of the outcomes in Eva's schools now is that parents who do not think it fair to hold their kids back, especially if it is a 2nd time  -- and often it isn't - pull their kids from the school -- thus Eva "loses" the bottom scorers.

How a New York City charter school uses public shame to get results

At Success Academy, students' grades are hung in hallways so that every member of the classroom knows how they stack up against one another, the New York Times reported this week. And if a student is below grade level, their name is listed in the "red zone" on the charts.
Eva Moskowitz Success Academy Charter Schools RallyAP Photo/Mike GrollEva Moskowitz of Success Academy Charter Schools during a charter school rally outside the state Capitol on Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in Albany, N.Y.
“But sometimes when people don’t get the best score, they seem to feel, like, really down on themselves. And when effort academy and detention and stuff like that is introduced one gets — me personally — really angry and upset,” a sixth grader named Maliha said in reference to test scores.
"Effort academy" is a detention for Success students who don't try hard enough.
At Success Academy, the largest charter school network in New York City, expectations are extremely high and it shows. Students in the Success Academy far out-perform students in traditional public schools (TPS) in New York City.
Last year, 29% of students in reading and 35% in math passed state tests in TPS, compared to 64% in reading and 94% in math as Success.
But this achievement comes at a price. High expectations are maintained through the use of non-traditional tactics that might be perceived as public shaming.
At Success schools, individual student achievement levels are public knowledge around the classroom. This is in stark contrast to the typical thinking in schools that test scores and student achievement is private.

Screen Shot 2015 04 07 at 12.48.45 PMSuccess AcademySuccess Academy results on the most recent NY State math and ELA exams scores

But administrators at Success Academy claim that high expectations and holding all students accountable for success is exactly what sets them apart from TPS and allows them to achieve such high student achievement.
“That is part of our culture — not having kids getting away with just not trying,” Eva Moskowitz, CEO of Success Academy, told the Times.
We reached out to Success Academy for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And charter parents are content with a test prep education for their children???

They've been duped!