Saturday, April 03, 2010

A great day in Harlem

Here's an article from the Economist on this topic, with a well-deserved shout-out for Harlem Village Academies (whose founder, Deborah Kenny, will be on the panel after the afternoon showing of A Right Denied on Wednesday):


Most of the children arrive at Harlem Village well behind their grade levels; some can barely read. But thanks to high-level learning, tutoring (if needed), an emphasis on accountability and good behavior, and a ten-hour school day, its students look not only toward graduation, but toward college. There is virtually no disparity in achievement between Harlem Village and schools in wealthier suburbs—indeed, 100% of its eighth-grade students passed their state maths and science tests. This was the first time the entire class of a charter school in the state of New York passed. Its seventh graders outperformed all charter schools in maths and even outranked the city's public schools.

Harlem Village has garnered a lot of national and media attention, in part because of these results. Mayor Bloomberg called it "the poster child for this country." Harlem, a Manhattan neighbourhood long linked with crime and poverty, has become the epicentre for the charter school movement, with 24 this year and more expected to open in autumn—more per square mile than anywhere else in America, but still not enough to meet demand. At Harlem Success Academy, another charter school, 6,500 people are expected to apply for a lottery that will award a mere 1,100 places. The rest will be placed on a waiting list.  

"Parents are voting with their feet," says Eva Moskowitz, who founded Harlem Success Academy. Yet despite these excellent results, not everyone loves charter schools.


A great day in Harlem

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