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A Word to Success Academy’s Opponents: Stop Hating and Start Creating

• ExcelinEd

New York City’s Success Academy is a charter network of top-ranking schools serving predominately low-income students of color. Yet not everyone appreciates this network, nor the incredible results seen throughout its 34 schools and 11,000+ students.

To those who don’t approve of the Success model or its extraordinary outcomes, Derrell Bradford of NYCAN recently offered some savvy advice: open more charter schools.

Read the excerpt below for his explanation, or head over to The Seventy Four for Bradford’s complete piece on the issue.

So while the old school monopolists want to deal with charters like Success Academy and other school types they fear (or don’t respect) by eliminating them—though parents like these schools a great deal and continue to choose them in droves—they should be doing the opposite: opening more of them. Across the country, micro-schools are now popping up, catering to students’ individual needs. No parent has to choose Success—or its model—but to the extent there are fewer choices to be had, it is more likely Success will be chosen.

Indeed there are enough families on Success Academy wait lists that, even as the network grows to 100 schools, long wait lists might remain. But this might not happen since every parent also has the ability to close Success by not choosing it, which is the most overlooked and powerful part of the charter school model.

But Success aside, you also won’t get the “Charter School of Free Range Liberal Arts,” or the “Academy of Opting Out” unless someone takes a chance and opens them, and unless parents decide to choose them. The district seems content to try “charter-lite” for its wealthiest parents in the Brooklyn high rent district. Maybe they’re figuring out that, to beat “Success” they’ll have to join them in giving parents what they want and a choice about getting it?

But those folks who pounced on last week’s Times article seem unwilling to give working and low-income families the same service or options—which may tell us all we need to know about their opposition to the schools doing the best job of educating New York’s black and brown low-income kids. It is driven by a profound lack of respect for the parents and students who value the sort of education Success Academy offers. And it’s an overreaction that serves those with wealth and choice far better than it serves those without it.

Read Derrell Bradford’s complete piece at The Seventy Four.

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