Admission to Democracy Prep in Harlem was competitive last year with only 250 seats available for 5,000 unique student applications. This meant that only 5% of applicants were successful through the random lottery system and 95% were left disappointed. Democracy Prep has addressed the problem this year with the opening of a new school that will fully accommodate the demand from Harlem 6th graders and their families. Every single 5th grade student from Harlem who applied for 6th grade at the top ranked school network is to be guaranteed admission regardless of prior academic performance.
Democracy Prep opened in 2006 and is one of the few ‘straight A’ public school network in the city. The Democracy Prep High School recently outperformed the wealth Westchester County on NY State Regents exams and is proudly announcing that no other district in the city guarantees a place to 6th grade residents who want one in a ‘straight A’ school.
These outstanding results directly refute the report released yesterday by the Schott Foundation for Public Education entitled “A Rotting Apple: Education Redlining in New York City” since the Schott Foundation methodology specifically excluded high performing public charterschools like Democracy Prep in its analysis.
Founder and Superintendent Seth Andrew has said that they founded Democracy Prep in CSD5 because it had the worst record for middle schools in the city and the success is being hailed by charter school advocates as a sign of what can be accomplished. The district has gone from having the worst schools in the city to many of the best in just seven years.
Princess Lyles, Director of Family and Community Engagement for Democracy Prep Public Schools and a Harlem resident said, “It used to be that families in Harlem tried to get out of Harlem schools, what’s amazing about today is that we have thousands of families trying to get in to Harlem public schools.
Mayor Bloomberg will also be pleased to see such an obvious validation of his charter school expansion policy appear before he leaves office next year.