Despite Criticism, NYC Success Charters Face Overwhelming Demand

(Photo: Chris Hondros, Getty)

(Photo: Chris Hondros, Getty)

New York City parents are rushing to get their children into Success Academy Charter Schools, but there is a severe shortage in the number of seats available. Over 20,000 students have sent in their applications, while the number of spots open is only 3,228, according to information released by the charter schools network.

The New York Post’s Carl Campanille reports notification letters will be sent on Monday. Students are accepted based on a lottery, but those who are not able to enroll this fall will be put on waiting lists.

“We are always excited about high demand for the limited seats we’re able to provide, [but] the unfortunate reality is that government regulations prevent us from meeting the needs of all 20,000 families seeking our schools,” said Success founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz, who has clashed with Mayor de Blasio over the expansion of charter schools.

Success is NYC’s largest administrator of charter schools, and since its 2006 opening, it has received 110,000 applications. In 2015, applicants numbered 19,000 for 2,688 open seats. In 2014, 14,400 students competed for a mere 2,870 places.

The State University of New York (SUNY) has approved the opening of four new charter schools which consist of three schools in the Bronx and one in Buffalo, New York, writes Ben Chapman for the New York Daily News.

The city schools will include the New York Center for Autism Charter School Bronx, which is much like a school already in place in Harlem. In the South Bronx, the Urban Assembly Charter School for Computer Science will be the first such charter school in the city. Brilla College Preparatory Charter School in Highbridge will offer a quarter of its classwork through the use of computer instruction.

At this time, NYC has 205 charters with an additional 15 set to open this year.

The Success Network has received highly-critical attention in the last six months including accusations of unacceptably severe disciplinary measures and the practice of expelling unmanageable students.

Chairperson of the SUNY Trustee’s Committee on Charter Schools Joseph Bullock believes in the original goal of Albert Shanker, one of the past presidents of the American Federation of Teachers, who envisioned in 1988 a new type of public school where teachers could use an experimental mindset, reports Leslie Brody of The Wall Street Journal.

He is not in support of charters that are working to build up larger networks. Rather, he would like to stick to the original theory, which was to design different solutions to complex educational difficulties.

Charter schools are funded by taxpayers but are privately managed. Most of the schools are not unionized, but do, say supporters, offer children in failing schools a better alternative. Those against the idea of charters say they drain money and space from traditional public schools and that they are not interested in aiding the most challenging young people.

There is little opposition to charters that serve impaired students. Their importance is underlined by the fact that students from these schools have learned real life skills and have participated in internships with firms such as Facebook and Fairway Market.

Hedge fund billionaire John Paulson and his wife Jenny pledged $8.5 million to Success Academy in 2015 to open new high and middle schools. Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who is also board chair of Success Academy, pledged $25 million from the Robertson Foundation. The fourth annual spring benefit gala raised over $10 million, according to the Business Insider’s Julia La Roche.