Among all the bad policies Mayor de Blasio has directed, encouraged or allowed during his mixed-bag tenure, one of the most egregious has to be his treatment of the children enrolled in the Success Academy charter school network.
In the past, de Blasio has tried to get Success Academy secondary schools shut down. Luckily for the mostly minority students who attend them, he failed.
Unlike the mayor, the students at those schools hardly seem to know what failure is. The 114 seniors at the Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts in Manhattan learned their SAT scores last week, and they’re phenomenal. The students earned an average score of 1268, with 10 percent of them scoring over 1400.
Their average score is 200 points higher than the national average of 1068. Keep in mind that most of the students at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts are the children of immigrants, black or Hispanic. Yet their scores topped the national average for white students, 1123; as well as the average for black students, 946; and that for Hispanic students, 990. Ethnicity is not destiny at Success Academy.
These students — “scholars” in Success parlance — work hard, are eager to learn and have the support at home that they need to do as well as they have. Most of them will be the first in their families to attend college.
Yet if de Blasio had his way, many of these kids would be stuck in the same underperforming traditional high schools that graduate students completely unprepared for college or, often, the rigors demanded by trades that require further education, albeit it not a bachelor’s degree.
And to this day de Blasio and his minions at the Department of Education, led by divisive and dismissive Chancellor Richard Carranza, are standing in the way of younger Success Academy students right here in Queens who want to reach for the stars themselves. They’re doing that by denying them space for a new middle school, something the city is required to provide under state law. And the clock is ticking: If de Blasio and the DOE don’t reverse course soon, it will be too late to get such a school open for the next academic year, which would throw 227 fourth-graders in Southeast Queens and the Rockaways into the area’s traditional ones, where only one in three students can read or do math at grade level. That would be an abomination.
These are students like Elijah Gilkes, who goes to Success Academy Rosedale. Elijah is a chess player and likes to work on algorithms in math class. He was among the students who recently stood outside City Hall to rally for a new school, and watched the mayor walk right by them without even looking at them.
Even Nixon engaged with antiwar protesters directly. But not de Blasio. Not even when the protesters are children.
“It’s not nice that the mayor is ignoring us,” Elijah said, in one of the personal stories Success has been telling about the students whose future is in danger. “Maybe he forgets that he went to a good school to become the mayor. He shouldn’t take away other people’s chances to become mayor!”
The city has been worrying these kids and their parents for 33 months now, claiming it will eventually provide the space they need but never actually doing it. If their education is interrupted, their future endangered, by the likes of de Blasio and Carranza — even though the space is clearly available in existing area schools — it would be a tragedy.
The mayor, the chancellor and all the like-minded educrats in the DOE have to get past their animosity toward Success Academy, comply with state law and get these kids the school space they need, immediately.