Jones Slams Success Academy Charter School Expansion Plans

Jones Slams Success Academy Charter School Expansion Plans

(NYC) Brian Jones, the Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor, took aim at the recent announcement by the Success Academy that it would seek to expand the size of its network of charter schools over the next few years. Success Academy is headed by former New York City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz.

“Success Academy is throwing its money and political weight around, bypassing popular support for the idea that well-heeled charter schools should pay their fair share,” said Jones, alluding to a new law brokered earlier this year by Governor Andrew Cuomo that requires New York City to provide charter schools with free classroom space or pay them to find their own space. The measure won support after a Wall Street funded public relations blitz from charter school advocates and Cuomo campaign donors.

Jones, a former New York City public school teacher, is calling for a moratorium on all charter school co-locations in public school buildings. "We need to invest in public schools, which serve 96% of our students," Jones said. "Expanding charter schools at the expense of public schools is wrong."

Jones focused his criticism on several points: 

  • Success Academy expands at the expense of public schools by taking up space and public dollars.
  • Success Academy claims that it is "public" when claiming not to promote privatization and "private" when they want to cancel school for political rallies or evade public accountability.
  • Success Academy raises millions of dollars from Wall Street but then claims they can't afford to pay rent and instead must rely on public resources.
  • Success Academy has high levels of student attrition -- counseling out the neediest students and bouncing them back into the public system.

Jones added that “Their obsession with raising standardized test scores does not necessarily mean they are providing a great education.” A recent Daily News article noted that none of Harlem Success Academy 1’s eighth grade graduating class passed the city’s test to gain admission to New York’s top public high schools, while 20% of eighth-graders passed the test citywide and 12% of black and latino eighth-graders passed the test citywide. In addition, the school’s graduating class of 32 was all that remained of 73 students who had enrolled as first graders back in 2006.

Unlike Governor Cuomo, who supports privatization in the form of charter schools, the Green Party ticket of Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones advocates a comprehensive “Quality Education for All” platform grounded in fully funding and strengthening our public school system. Hawkins and Jones have been endorsed by the New York Badass Teacher Association, United Opt Out, and numerous educators.

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