Monday, March 08, 2010

Charter School Success in Harlem. Who'd Object?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Today there are 24 Harlem charter schools. They select students by lottery, and they educate about 7,700 of the community's 50,000 school-age kids. Another 5,700 children matriculate at one of Harlem's 30 private and parochial schools.

"Harlem now has more school choice per square foot than any other place in the country," says Eva Moskowitz, who operates four charters in Harlem. Nationwide, the average black 12th grader reads at the level of a white eighth grader. Yet Harlem charter students at schools like KIPP and Democracy Prep are outperforming their white peers in wealthy suburbs. At the Promise Academy charter schools, 97% of third graders scored at or above grade level in math. At Harlem Village Academy, 100% of eighth graders aced the state science exam. Every third grader at Harlem Success Academy 1, operated by Ms. Moskowitz, passed the state math exam, and 71% of them achieved the top score.

This year, Harlem's charter schools received more than 11,000 applications for 2,000 available slots. More than 7,000 children are on wait lists.
With that kind of success, reflected in that kind of demand, who could object to more charter schools? Easy question.

The United Federation of Teachers and its political acolytes in the New York state legislature are hell-bent on blocking school choice for underprivileged families. Worried that high-performing charters are "saturating" Harlem, State Sen. Bill Perkins and State Assemblyman Keith Wright have backed legislation that would gut state per-pupil funding at charter schools and allow a single charter operator to educate no more than 5% of a district's students. Unions dislike charter schools because many aren't organized. But how does limiting the replication of successful public education models benefit ghetto kids?

These obstructionists, Mr. Clark says, aren't doing the community any favors. "The teachers unions ought to be ashamed of themselves because they know better than I do how bad these schools are," he says. "Everybody on my block and in my building and around the corner . . . they all want charter schools. They don't want a political debate."
To paraphrase Dennis Byrne:

If there’s ever an illustration of how “progressive” elites and organized labor are attempting to keep the very people they supposedly care about locked up on the plantation, it’s their consuming opposition to charter schools in Harlem and elsewhere.

Update: NY Times article "In Harlem, Epicenter for Charter Schools, a Senator Wars Against Them," thanks to Colin.

5 Comments:

At 3/08/2010 9:31 AM, Blogger Colin said...

Also:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/nyregion/07perkins.html?ref=todayspaper

 
At 3/08/2010 10:56 AM, Blogger misterjosh said...

One of the things that really impresses me about Harlem success is that they admit special ed students:
http://www.harlemsuccess.org/applyfaqs

 
At 3/08/2010 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire "progressive" worldview is built on their own sense of moral supremacy. Stories like this one put the lie to these pretensions. Most of the ills that plague society, and which are always laid at the feet of capitalism, begin with a substandard education courtesy of your local teachers union. The teachers unions feed the welfare state, giving the lives of "progressives" meaning. They provide the fodder for what leftists are fond of calling the "prison-industrial complex". Once educated, the "underclass" has no need of the marxist and his drivel, so the left works tirelessly to undermine the potential of millions of children while pretending that their efforts represent only caring and compassion. They are the agents of despair.

 
At 3/08/2010 5:05 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

Wolf Howling has an excellent companion piece to this:

Read'n, Writ'n & Unioniz'n

I calls attention to a recent Newsweek piece on the problem

 
At 3/08/2010 5:07 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

DOH! "It calls attention..."

 

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