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February 1 2018

Charter Schools Seen as Solution to New York's Racial Achievement Gap

by Charlotte Hays

An editorial in today's New York Post argues that there is a way to close the racial achievement gap in New York public education--but that Mayor De Blasio would never use it, even though that gap is serious.

Indeed, a new study entitled “The Calculus of Race and Class,” from the Center for New York City Affairs, reportedly shows that the city's public schools remain largely segregated. The racial achievement gap is even wider at schools that claim a greater degree of integration.

Families that are able do all within their power to live in districts that have the better public schools. And that should surprise no one: kids from more affluent families do better on the SAT and other standardized tests that are important in charting their future courses in life. White and Asian kids do better than black and Hispanic ones.

City Hall's School Diversity Working Group apparently has done little to lift up the kids whose parents can't afford to get them into good school districts. And what do the editors suggest might actually improve education for low-income kids? Well, charter schools.  

The editorial points out that Success Academy schools defy the odds, even though they admit by blind lottery:

 The network’s diverse Cobble Hill school, for example, has only a tiny achievement gap. As one report co-author, Nicole Mader, put it, while Success’ “income gaps are some of the widest . . . their test score gaps are among the smallest.”

And even the Success schools with overwhelmingly minority student bodies “float above the trend line” of demographic destiny, the report observes, as their “Black and Hispanic students performed far above students with comparable incomes at other schools.”

Of course, refusing to just accept the achievement gap — insisting that poor, minority kids can excel, and setting out to prove it — is pretty much Success’ mission.

Charter schools like the Success Academy are seen as competition by the teacher unions, a crucial source of support to Democratic politicians. Mayor De Blasio is refusing Success Academy's request to use space in public schools that are not being used. Maybe another diversity working group will be better.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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