Success Academy is again pleading with education leaders to permit a sector expansion that they claim they desperately need in order to accommodate the many applicants to their charter schools. With only 3,017 seats available, Success Academy cannot provide education to the 17,000 applicants left waiting.
Success Academy Founder and CEO, Eva Moskowitz, stated that this issue hits charter schools every year. Many parents want their children to attend, but with the city unwilling to meet their demands for expansion students will remain out of the loop.
2017 will mark the fourth year in a row where the number of unplaced students on waiting lists is more than 10,000. Success Academy attributes the many expectant students to the dissatisfaction their parents feel with the New York public school system.
There are some numbers to support this position. Students designated to the school zones with the worst performance have increased their application rates by 30%. To put this into better perspective, 5,600 families in the Bronx alone applied for placement with Success Academy, which is approximately 15 students per seat. 615 applicants this year also come from zones with Renewal schools, an initiative that is struggling due to lacking funds.
While Success Academy is opening two new schools this year, it is a reduction from the few that were opened in 2016. This isn’t due to a lack of space. Officials from Success Academy claim that there are 144,000 empty seats currently available in public space. Yet these locations remain off limits to charter schools.
The Department of Education disputes this figure, claiming that the public space available changes several times throughout the year.
Success Academy operates out of 41 schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. This allows for the accommodation of approximately 14,000 children, 77% of which are from low-income families, and 95% are minorities.
Mayor Bill De Blasio has long been an opponent of charter schools, claiming that they’re too focused on test scores rather than a well-rounded education and their ability to be too selective, leading to discriminatory practices that may keep some kids out.
Success Academy and its supporters dispute these claims and point to the overwhelming demand from families to be given placement in their schools.