My U.S. News column this week is sure to raise hackles. But that’s only because anytime you put the words “Eva” and “Moskowitz” adjacent to each other, you’re sure to upset either fans or haters of the polarizing founder of New York’s Success Academies.
Much has been written by me and others at Fordham about the stellar results achieved by Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter schools and the controversial tactics used to achieve them. This isn’t an attempt to re-litigate any of those arguments. How Moskowitz runs her schools is of enormous importance to education policy advocates and activists, but most parents simply don’t care. Indeed, I’m tempted to suggest the secret of Moskowitz’s success is that she may have a better grasp of what parents want than just about anyone in education today. From the piece:
For inner-city moms and dads who have been disappointed by unsafe schools, chronic failure, and limited educational opportunities, questions about schools come down to three: Is my child safe? Is my child behaving? Is my child learning? Moskowitz can answer affirmatively—and accurately--for all three.
Having taught in a troubled South Bronx elementary school for several years, it is not a mystery to me why there are ten families on the waiting list for every Success Academy seat. Even in the worst urban schools, most parents resent the hell out of the chaos and disruption inflicted upon them by the minority of kids who act out. Eva Moskowitz gets this.
In the end, Success Academy is yet another argument for school choice. “By no means should her brand of education be imposed on every child, no matter how good the results. But by no means should the thousands of families she serves—and the...