Anyone watching the nation’s education landscape is aware of the growth of charter schools in NYC. The success of charters has been an embarrassment to NYC public schools and has fueled efforts to limit their expansion. But that’s another story. Whether in New York or North Carolina, parents ask the same question: Do charter schools make a difference?
We might want to ask the children of Harlem.
Eva Moskowitz, education reformer extraordinaire and founder of Success Academy, writes in this morning’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that charter schools are giving new hope to many children previously stuck in failing public schools.
The results of the 2017 New York state tests were released Tuesday, and my staff has been busy crunching the numbers. They demonstrate how transformative this development [charter schools] has been for Harlem residents. In Central Harlem, for example, the number of students meeting rigorous Common Core math standards has more than doubled since 2013—from 1,690 to 3,703. Students attending charter schools account for 90 percent of that growth. Results for English language arts are similarly inspiring.
The highest performing charter schools like Success Academy, have reversed the achievement gap. Black and Hispanic students from Central Harlem’s seven Success Academy schools outperform white students across the city by 33 points in math and 21 points in reading; low income students outperform the city’s affluent students by 38 points and 24 points in math and reading respectively.
These are amazing results that speak of the power of school choice. They also show that parents want a better education for their children. In Harlem, 14,000 Harlem children were entered charter school lotteries this year for a total of only 3,000 spots. 48,000 students are on charter school wait-lists.
Do charter schools make a difference? The evidence shouts yes.