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Success Charter Schools Repudiate Charter Mission To Serve High Needs Students

The following is the text of the UFT’s statement to the SUNY Board of Trustees on the revisions to the admissions preferences and processes of the schools in the Success Charter School network. Regrettably, the board approved the changes.

Today, the SUNY Board of Trustees is faced with a momentous decision on whether or not to approve the proposed revisions in the admissions policies of the charter schools in the Success Charter Network. These revisions are not minor, technical changes to the charters of the Success Academies. Rather, by eliminating the existing admissions preferences for at-risk students, the proposed revisions constitute a dramatic repudiation of what has been, until now, the Success Charter Network’s ostensible commitment to serve New York City’s students with the greatest need. For this very reason, the SUNY Board of Trustees must withhold approval of these changes.

From its authorization of the first New York charter schools twelve years ago, the SUNY Board of Trustees has always embraced the foundational idea that charter schools have a very special mission: to educate New York’s neediest students, with a particular focus on those students who were not being well-served in their current schools. That mission is not simply a noble sentiment; it is the raison d’être of New York’s charter schools.

When the first Success Academies were chartered, Success CEO Eva Moskowitz publicly embraced this charter school mission. But disconcerting signs that this embrace was a political marketing ploy and not a sincere, genuine commitment soon began to appear. Success Academies have enrolled far fewer high needs students – especially English Language Learners and students with special needs – than the public schools in the same geographical district. Those high needs students who do enter the school are often “counseled out.” This year, the Success Charter network has applied to open a charter in a high need, high poverty neighborhood (Community School District 13), and then in a classic “bait and switch” shifted the school to an upper middle class neighborhood with far lesser need (Community School District 15). Now, it proposes to dispose of its inconvenient formal commitment to serve at risk students by altering its admission policies. Where does this end?

It is time for the SUNY Board of Trustees to say “no.”  You authorized these Success Academy Charter Schools in the belief that the applications were made in good faith and that the Success Charter Schools would honor their commitment to serving New York’s neediest students. But the Success Academy Charter Network has broken faith with you and with New York’s neediest students. If you do not say “no” now, then when? And if not you, then who?

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4 Comments:

  • 1 nuff said
    · Mar 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

    And just who has enabled this fiasco?

  • 2 Jim Devor
    · Mar 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Very good (albeit seemingly belated) statement.

    I watched the proceedings in Brockport via the Internet. Committee Chairman O’Brien did make sure the remainder of the Members had an opportunity to read the statement which he indicated had only been received the night before.

    There was some alleged interest by members in the allegations of “counseling out”. The CSI staff responded, however, that while they purportedly investigated such complaints made to them (yeah, right), there was no empirical basis to determine the validity of the charge (apparently, studying comparative attrition rates is beyond their capacity).

    Although one of the Trustees indicated the letter should be “taken seriously”, no further discussion was had regarding the underlying issue raised in the letter. While fully cognizant of their authority to overrule the Charter School Institute, the Committee members (following Chairman O’Brien’s lead) expressly declined to interfere with the CSI determination to grant Eva’s wishes to extricate the Success Academies from the business of teaching “at risk” children.

    The whole thing can be viewed at:

    It’s Romneyism triumphant!
    ______________________
    Jim Devor; President, CEC-15

  • 3 Cristina
    · Mar 30, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Success = Segregation!!!!

    Taking public school funds to only serve some? How can this be legal?

    And what about the non-profit social philanthropy investors who have invested in Success? It is also mentioned in their missions that the investments go to at-risk communities.

    Huge scam.

  • 4 Mary
    · Mar 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    SEPARATION is SEGREGATION!

    See Evil run.