Big Win for Charter Schools: Poorest District in Nation Just Aced Statewide Math Exam


A charter school located in the heart of America’s poorest congressional district — in The Bronx’s Concourse Village — has exceeded expectations once again.

According to the New York Post, Success Academy officials said that their class of 53 eighth-graders not only passed the Algebra I Regents exam but aced it.

At the school — where a free lunch is provided to nine out of 10 kids — students scored a stunning five out of five on the intense math test, which equates to 85 or higher on the exam.

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Last week, when news broke of their extraordinary accomplishment at the school’s graduation ceremony, many were stunned and overjoyed.

“The collective pride in the whole room was through the roof,” Principal Todd Gentilcore said. “The parents were cheering, the teachers were cheering, the kids were cheering.”

Educator Karina Mateo, who made it clear to her students that she expected more than merely a passing grade, orchestrated the feat. She expected excellence and got it.

“I’m not going to lower the bar,” she said. “My idea is that not only can everyone do math, but that they can excel at math. I told this to parents and they believed me. If you can do that, a lot of doors open. If they understand why it’s important, then they’ll buy into what you’re doing.”

Do you support charter schools?

Charter schools are publicly funded and privately owned. That makes for a fantastic hybrid that allows students and parents to be more closely associated with the staff and curriculum, while still being able to attend the school free of charge.

It’s a huge benefit for students in some of America’s economically disadvantaged areas who otherwise might be forced to attend poor-performing public schools.

In addition, since charter schools are privately owned, parental involvement is a necessity. Success Academy rallies parents to help with school activities and participate in the education of their children. The immersion on the parents’ side is a way to get them hyper-invested in their children’s success.

“Encourage the hard work, discipline, and focus young people need to fully reap the rewards of their education,” Success Academy asks of parents on its website.

The school also requests that parents “engage with the community,” noting that “strong school culture is a touchstone of our program, and parent involvement is critical in making co-curricular and community service events exceed expectations.”

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As many Democrats continue their journey to the far left, some have targeted charter schools. In 2015, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that many of the schools “don’t take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don’t keep them,” according to Politico.

In 2010, EdWeek reported that the NAACP railed against the Obama Administration for working to expand charter schools, claiming that changes would hurt low-income and minority children.

However, with a charter school consisting of mostly minorities in the country’s poorest district out-scoring so many others, such criticism seems moot.

It’s time to provide better choices to families by getting more of these charter schools implemented around the nation, especially in districts where children are lacking for educational opportunity.

According to Think Progress, President Donald Trump is doing just that. He has increased spending on federal charter grants by an impressive 30 percent since he took office, and his 2020 budget proposal would raise federal charter school grants by a whopping $60 million.

Here’s hoping the Democrats opposed to school choice will recognize Success Academy’s achievement, put politics aside and realize what’s best for future generations.

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Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
Ryan Ledendecker is a former writer for The Western Journal.
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