We write frequently about the charter-school wars in New York City because the battle touches so many aspects of the effort to give children from poor families the education necessary to escape their circumstances.
Today's report has good news: Results released yesterday of test scores in the New York State Assessment Program showed that the most relentlessly attacked charter schools—Eva Moskowitz's Harlem Success academies—have outperformed their public-school peers, often by a wide margin.
At all New York City's public schools, 60% of third, fourth and fifth graders passed the math exam; at Harlem Success, 94% passed. In the state language arts exam, 49% from the city schools passed compared to 78% at the charters. The 94% pass rate for the academies' black and Hispanic students surpassed the 73% pass rate for white students taking the exam in New York state.
Other New York City charters—such as Geoffrey Canada's Promise Academies or the Democracy Prep charter schools—generally produce similar results, even compared to the state's best public schools. In a 2009 study of New York City charter schools, Caroline Hoxby of Stanford concluded, "On average, a student who attended a charter school for all of the grades kindergarten through eight would close about 86% of the 'Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap' in math and 66% of the achievement gap in English."
Meanwhile, the battle to stop the movement continues. Ms. Moskowitz's effort to open another school on Manhattan's Upper West Side has met massive resistance. Actor Matt Damon is now throwing his celebrity against charters. Their students, meanwhile, continue upward.