In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, Eva Moskowitz recounts her experience as a public school student in Harlem during the late 1960s, early 1970s. She recounts the dismal environment and explains that she was lucky enough to have parents who supplemented that education. Many of her fellow students were not so lucky.
Now fast forward to 2006. Moskowitz is living back in Harlem and getting ready to send her own children to school. She decided to open the first charter school in Harlem where district schools were still failing. She wanted to give her kids and other kids in the neighborhood the chance for a better education.
Twelve years later, Harlem is now a different place. School choice and charter schools have given rise to dozens of high-performing charter schools. In fact, almost half of the students in Central Harlem attend a charter school.
There has been a fight, however. Organizations like the NAACP argue that charter schools pose a disadvantage to students of color and negatively impact the public schools. However, the numbers don’t lie. African American and Hispanic students at charter schools outperform white students by 33 points in math and 21 points in reading. Low income students outperform the city’s affluent students by 38 and 21 points in math and reading, respectively.
The fact is, charter schools challenge public schools to raise their standards. They positively impact communities at large and allow the students better chances. A comprehensive study done in New York City found improved academic performance, safety, and student engagement in district schools located nearby or in the same building as charter schools.
In Harlem last year, 14,000 students were entered into charter school lotteries this year. There were a total of 3,000 spots available. Across the entire city, 48,000 students are on charter school waitlists. The want for charter schools and school choice is apparent. In the end, communities and students alike benefit from charter school presence in a community.
We write charter schools around the country. Please let us know if we can assist you.
Contact us today:
Ned Daly 804.272.8060 Will Shumadine 804.272.9210
Grey Lester 804.272.5964 Peyton Judy 804.272.4317
Dana Fawver 804.272.7405