New York this week released the results of statewide standardized testing, and the numbers were a reminder that Eva Moskowitz has had a more consequential career as head of the Success Academy network of charter schools than she would have had had she won election as Manhattan Borough President.
By the reckoning of the web site Chalkbeat New York, fully half of New York City's top schools for math proficiency — five of the top ten — are part of the Success Academy network. These Success Academy schools are situated in, among other places, Harlem, Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, and the Bronx. They are outperforming traditionally sought-after public schools in more prosperous neighborhoods, such as the Upper East Side, Park Slope, and Tribeca, that are run by the centralized and heavily unionized public school bureaucracy. Citywide, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of students, on average, test as "proficient" in English and Math, meaning they meet the standards for what they are supposed to have learned in grades 3 to 8. At the Success Academy schools, the numbers are in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. Some classes at some Success Academy schools even reached 100 percent proficiency in math, meaning that every student tested met the state standards.
Education is about more than just standardized test scores. But that doesn't take anything away from the achievement of Ms. Moskowitz or of the Success Academy students, parents, and teachers.
As I've mentioned before, this is more than just an education story; it's a political story. These charter school students and parents are a formidable political force in New York City and state that is just beginning to be felt — a largely minority population that is seeing positive results from less-regulated charter schools rather than from the more centralized and heavily unionized traditional public schools. Charter schools are the Uber of education. This is an ongoing story with measurable results.