A quick break from politics, money, and antique food.  (A personal best! I just consumed Kraft Caesar Italian Fat-Free dressing I found open in the back of the refrigerator dated June 1, 2001!)  But what’s more important than education?


You know I’m a fan of Success Academy charter schools (here and here, etc.) — astounding results that break the cycle of poverty for thousands of kids in New York’s toughest neighborhoods.  It is a big, big deal that should be replicated nationwide.

The New York Times doesn’t think so.  Most recently, it focused on a Success Academy teacher ripping up a little girl’s paper in front of the class and speaking harshly to her: all caught on video.

The New York Times is indispensable.  (Subscribe!)  But in their ongoing attacks on Success Academy, they seem to have lost perspective.

Here‘s a letter to the Times from the grandparent of a Success scholar suggesting just that.

. . . My grandson attends Success Academy Cobble Hill. He attended a district school kindergarten before transferring. He hated kindergarten and didn’t want to go to school. Every week, we heard about some incident that rivaled the video you have been featuring for the last two weeks. His parents met with the principal, who agreed that my grandson and the teacher were not a good fit. But she said her hands were tied. She vowed if they would leave him in the school, she would ensure that he got a more appropriate teacher for first grade. Instead, they transferred to Success Academy, and for the past three years he has cried on the last day of school because he had to leave behind teachers he loved. If we had been smarter, we would have sent him to kindergarten with a cellphone and told him to video one of his teacher’s frequent outbursts.  Would we then have been able to get the Times to do a series of stories about the incident? Unlikely, because it wouldn’t have fit into some preconceived notion you had about this school and its policies, but would represent only an unfortunate single incident in a single classroom. But that pretty much is what the Success Academy video is, too. . . .

And here is a video of Success Academy parents who seem to adore the teacher in question.

Read the Times piece.  Join the Times and everyone else — including that teacher — in acknowledging she went too far.

But the big picture is that we should be rushing nationwide to turn all our most troubled public schools into wild successes like the dozens of Success Academy public schools . . . free and open to all (or at least all those fortunate enough to win the lottery to attend them).

Tomorrow: back to our regularly scheduled programming.  (And some really old Greek olives.  I haven’t decided yet whether to try them.)



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