Monday, April 26, 2010

Reverse Creaming

Perkins, the unions, Ravitch, and other enemies of charters like to claim that charter schools treat teachers badly and that's why they need a union to protect them, so I asked the charter leader they hate most, Eva Moskowitz, how many UFT members applied to teach at her four schools last year.  Her reply: "Last year we had 13,000 UFT members apply for 69 spots. This year we believe it will be about 20,000."  That's 188 applicants for every open spot – unbelievable!


Another big criticism of charters is creaming, and once again, Eva and Harlem Success are in the vanguard, putting this myth to rest by applying and just getting approval this week to give preference to ELL students in its lottery (ironically, state laws that mandate a lottery to make sure charters aren't creaming, PREVENT schools that WANT to serve more disadvantaged students from doing so!):


English Language Learners Given New Preference To Attend Harlem Public Charter Schools


Permission Granted By State University of New York To Treat ELL Students As 'At Risk'; Increasing Their Chances of Enrollment At Success Charter Network


For the first time in New York's history of public charter schools, the state this spring allowed these innovative schools to categorize English Language Learners as 'at risk' students. The change gave those students a preference when names of students were randomly drawn for highly-coveted seats in the schools.


"We appreciate the initiative taken by Harlem and Bronx Success Academies to increase service to students who are English Language Learners," said Jonas Chartock, Executive Director of the State University of New York Charter Schools Institute, the charter school authorizer that oversees most of the Harlem and Bronx Success Academies.  "This concept of continuously evaluating the educational opportunities afforded to at-risk students and making changes in response is a hallmark of this state's successful charter schools."


"By allowing us to give preference to ELL students, our authorizer is allowing us to fully live up to the important mission of our schools – to provide a top-notch public education to those students who are traditionally underserved within the existing public school system," said Eva Moskowitz, CEO of the Success Charter Network, which operates four schools in Harlem and will open three more next year in Harlem and the Bronx.


Success Charter Network this year asked for permission from the State University of New York to include ELL students in the group of students who are given preference in the lottery for admission. Results of the lottery will be made public on April 22.  All told, approximately 7000 students applied for 1100 spots in the Success Charter Network schools.


In some Harlem zip codes, as many as 63% of families with age eligible children applied.


Admissions lotteries are random but public charter schools are required by law to give preference to residents of the community school district and may also seek permission to give preference to other groups of students.  Success Charter Network gives preference to siblings of currently-enrolled students, then to 'at-risk' students in district, then to 'at-risk' students out of district, then to students residing in district, and then finally to students who reside in New York City.  Success Charter Network defines 'at-risk' as English Language Learners and as students who attend or are zoned to attend a failing school.  


Harlem Success Academy ranks #1 out of 3500 public schools in the state of New York based on its scores on the 2009 state math test. Harlem Success Academy far outperformed the local school district, even outperforming Scarsdale on the state math test.  The percentage of students "advanced proficient" in math surpasses even the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan by nearly 35%.  


95% of Harlem Success Academy 3rd graders passed the 2009 English Language Arts exam, with nearly a quarter achieving the top score of "4," ranking the school #2 out of all public charters in the state.  Harlem Success Academy outperformed its school district (which includes the Upper West Side of Manhattan) by nearly 25 percentage points in English Language Arts. 

 Subscribe in a reader