NYC charter schools outperform district counterparts in states tests, study shows

Charter schools are public and receive government funding, but most operate independently from the Department of Education. There are 274 charter schools across the five boroughs.  

Ashley Mastronardi

Jan 23, 2024, 1:20 AM

Updated 177 days ago

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The results are in. A recent analysis by the nonprofit NYC Charter School Center of English and math test scores in New York City show that charter schools outperformed their district counterparts. 
“We just got our comparative test scores back and we’re No. 1 in the state of New York in math and No. 3 in English,” said Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academy, New York City’s largest charter network.
Charter schools are public and receive government funding, but most operate independently from the Department of Education. There are 274 charter schools across the five boroughs.  
This past year students in grades 3-8 scored 7 percentage points higher on the English Language Arts exam (ELA) than students in district schools. In math, charter school students outperformed their peers by 13 percentage points. Despite getting less funding than district schools, Moskowitz says charters are successful because of less bureaucratic red tape. 
“The district schools have to negotiate everything between the mayor and the head of the teachers union and if they want to make one little change, they have to renegotiate. We are free to hire the best talent...our main reason for our success is our teacher training and development,” she said. 
Smitha Milich from the Alliance for Quality Education disagrees. 
“Charter schools, charter school grades, they’re typically higher,” Milich told News 12 New York during a recent Zoom interview. “Usually that is the case because they cherry pick their students and at the same time they push out students with [individualized education programs], students with disabilities, English language learners, children with mental health issues - those children are typically removed from the schools in creative ways,” she said. 
She says excessive suspensions are one way. But Moskowitz says that’s just not the case.  
“Our students, 94% of them are Black and brown, the vast majority live under the poverty line, about 16% are special needs, about 10% are homeless students, another 10% are English language learners,” she said.  “Our parents are in our schools, they know what’s going on in the classroom and the school, so I think this is an ideological framework AQE has rather than talking to parents who are voting with their feet,” she added. 
Ian Rowe, head of Vertex Partnership Academies in the Bronx, agrees that charters are a saving grace for parents. 
“Think about a 22-year-old mom who has a 5-year-old and she’s a single mom and she’s looking for a great place for her child to go - and in her district, there’s no other options – you say to that mom, that’s it, that’s your only choice.  What we’re saying is we need to give that mom and thousands of other moms a great place to send their kids,” he said. 
When News 12 New York reached out to the DOE for comment they told us this was “old news” and didn’t respond to a follow up email.   
READ THE REPORT: NYC Charter School Center


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