Eva Moskowitz insists on school reform because she knows what she is talking about. It took her less than ten years to build an extensive charter school network in New York City that encompasses a large 34 campuses catering to as many as 11000 children. Named Success Academy, these institutions are a huge success in the sense that these produce stupendous results.
There is certainly something that Eva Moskowitz is doing right considering that of the New York state schools with the highest scores for proficiency, five of the top ten in Math happen to be from Success Academies. The corresponding figure for English is three of the top twenty.
When you weigh in the fact that most of these students come from severely disadvantaged backgrounds with a host of family problems to contend with you begin to appreciate the sheer heft of Eva Moskowitz’s achievement. Perhaps her own background had a role to play in shaping up her views about public school education and what it could achieve,
Eva Moskowitz was brought up by two professors, and she received her education in Harlem public schools before eventually obtaining a Ph.D. Right from the early days, Eva Moskowitz was fired with zeal to fix the public school education system somehow. To this effect, she even ran for the New York City Council. She soon came to be known as a tough as nails advocate for efficiency and transparency in the public school education system.
However, she eventually came to the considered conclusion that the best way forward was through philanthropy and she used the money thus raised to fund and found the first charter school in Harlem in 2006. The rest, as they say, is history. Her motive in opening the Success Academy schools was not just to impart good, but excellent education. She wanted kids who normally wouldn’t get a second look to become outstanding mathematicians and writers and above all get involved in science, that was oriented toward making discoveries-five days a week.
Chess is encouraged in these schools, because it promotes strategic thinking. Debating and taking part in competitions is encouraged. They prepare kids for life in Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies.
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