Time for an expose on Success Academy and the secrets to their “success”.
Let me save you the time, here is the recipe:
1) Cherry pick the best students with the most motivated parents
2) Counsel out the non-strivers (see SA attrition rates)
3) Implement plantation style, no-excuses discipline
4) Suspend the non-compliant (see SA attrition rates)
5) Test prep centric programs in math and ELA
6) In-house “grading” of state tests
Note how few of Eva’s “scholars have passed the SHSAT entrance exam into NYC’s best and most selective high schools.
It’s time for the Times to pull back the curtain on the SA scam.
Motivated children and parents have been cast as a resource to shore up failing students and schools. The fact that these kids do much better when in schools with others of the same ilk, eg, charter schools, is treated like a problem to be fixed.
Meanwhile the parents and kids are on waiting lists hundreds of students long to get into those schools.
In other words there is a vast disconnect between what parents want and will do for their kids and what others think they should be willing to do, even if it does not benefit the child.
Scapegoating teachers and administrators by repeating the “failing schools” meme is a distraction that will never solve the problem of struggling communities, struggling families/parents, and struggling learners.
The weakest link in the education chain is not ineffective teachers, pedagogy, or standards, or curricula.
Until these weakest links can be strengthened, very little will improve for those struggling learners:
1) Pre-natal and post natal care
2) Intact families/Parenting skills
4) Belief in education/Parental expectations
3) Economic hope/Living wage
“White families, who have moved into the area in increasing numbers, generally do not send their children to the neighborhood schools . . . leaving them deeply segregated.”
In that case, whites haven’t affected the racial mix of these schools at all.
It might be that throwing more money at “failing” schools would help, but when you realize that New York City spends more money per pupil than anywhere else in the country, we have to rethink whether money is the problem.
When teenagers give birth to babies that they are ill-equipped to rear, and then have more, and the children spend their formative years without having been spoken or read to, they’re already far behind in intellectual development. And if they’ve never been taught patience or persistence, or even politeness, they won’t even work to overcome their deficits.
I’m all for pre-K. Get those kids out of their homes as soon as possible and try to give them some language skills.
Even better: birth control. And if you have no job and are on subsidies of any kind, mandatory birth control. Why are the schools overcrowded and failing? It’s certainly not because the kids are black.
(For the record, I care not a whit whether a teenaged mother is white or black. As for single mothers who have or adopt a child: If they’re over 35, have had a steady, well-paying job all their lives, and haven’t found the right partner yet, then that’s all right.)
What you’re suggesting is impossible without one thing, Ed: MONEY.
Every time a story like this runs, missing is an analysis of what happens in a rapidly changing neighborhood. Wealthy families move into poor neighborhoods and send their kids to better schools not in the neighborhood. When they see their tax bill, they realize they are paying for a school that their child does not attend, nor does the family have any connection to. They lobby and fight for lower taxes, further siphoning off support and funding for the neighborhood school. The students still at the school suffer. It’s a vicious cycle.
This is so unfair. Public schools in Harlem, with a few exceptions, have been failing for decades. The difference now is tha SA has shown that there is hope, if we give schools the freedom to thrive, innovate, take risks and focus their energies. If someone had suggested 10 years ago that SA (or anyone) would have 15 schools in NYC with top 100 scores (and many top 25) in the state I’d had labeled them crazy. They’ve done it. Nobody else in the history of public education in NYC has achieved thus. They’ve demonstrated scale up capacity unheard of in any school system anywhere in the country. Put political nonsense aside (and I’m a liberal progressive left wing educator!). Give SA the entire Harlem school system D3 and D4. They’ve shown over and over again they are better at it than regular public schools. The experiment is over and the results are in.
Yes I have good prenatal care with nurse midwives with two homebirth children and stayed home for 3 years to ensure the best environment for my toddlers and babies so that I do not have to worry about the school environment. San Jose, California is an expensive city to live, so my career was affected but I can live with practical and simple means.
In San Jose, we are blessed to have Hammer Montessori Elem School. And in Middle school, there is violin and music lessons at Castillero Middle schools. The high schools are not perfect. But, hands-on parenting works.