In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Success Academy Charter Schools founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz attacks the notion that charter schools and school choice somehow weaken traditional, district-run schools. And she does so by pointing to what matters most: results for kids.
New York City, where Success Academy’s schools are located, is broken down into 32 community school districts—some with a heavy mix of charters and some that are light.
We can examine the 16 districts where charter school enrollment is highest (charter-rich districts) and the 16 districts where it is lowest (charter-light districts) and see how their relative rankings, based on their results on statewide English and math proficiency exams, changed between 2006 and 2014.
Of the 16 charter-rich districts, 11 rose in the rankings. And of the eight among those 16 with the highest charter enrollment, all rose save one. The district that jumped furthest, rocketing up 11 spots between 2006 and 2014, was District 5 in Central Harlem, which has the city’s highest charter-school enrollment (43%).
And what about the 16 charter-light districts? Thirteen fell in the rankings, and not one rose. For example, District 12 in the Bronx, which in 2006 ranked higher than Central Harlem, now ranks 13 spots lower. District 29 in Queens, which in 2006 ranked 15 spots higher than Central Harlem and has fewer poor students, now ranks lower.
Those are compelling numbers that should be a big part of the conversation about how charter schools and choice impact student achievement across an entire school district.