For decades, there has been widespread anxiety over how, when or whether the educational test score gap between white and non-white youngsters could be closed. But that gap has already been closed by the Success Academy charter school network in New York City.
Their predominantly black and Hispanic students already pass tests in mathematics and English at a higher rate than any school district in the entire state. That includes predominantly white and Asian school districts where parental income is some multiple of what it is among Success Academy students.
New York’s charter school students are predominantly black and Hispanic, and live in low-income neighborhoods. In 2019, most students in the city’s public schools failed to pass the statewide tests in mathematics and English. But most of the city’s charter school students passed in both subjects.
Such charter school results undermine theories of genetic determinism, claims of cultural bias in the tests and assertions that racial “integration” is necessary for blacks to reach educational parity with whites.
Back In 2013, a higher percentage of the fifth-graders in a Harlem charter school passed the mathematics test than any other public school fifth-graders in the entire state of New York.
The success of New York City’s charter schools is not only a threat to educational dogmas. Competition from charter schools is an existential threat to traditional public schools in low-income minority communities, which tend to have even lower educational outcomes than traditional public schools as a whole.
In a number of low-income minority communities in New York City, charter school classes and classes in traditional public schools are held in the same buildings, serving the same communities. Some of the contrasts are almost unbelievable.
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