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Parents Fire Back Against New York Times’ Negative Articles About Success Academy

Parents Fire Back Against New York Times’ Negative Articles About Success Academy

It seems that each week, New York City charter school network Success Academy has to fend off bad press for the extreme tactics it uses to help its students reach success.

The network, established and ran by CEO Eva Moskowitz, has been criticized for pushing students even in the youngest years too hard to achieve good test scores.

The high-performing network has also been criticized in the past for using repeated disciplinary measures to help underperforming students and students with disabilities out the door.

The latest article drawing negative attention to the beleaguered network is the New York Times’ article, “At Success Academy School, a Stumble in Math and a Teacher’s Anger on Video.”

The article revolves around a video of Success Academy teacher Charlotte Dial berating a student in her first grade class for getting a math problem wrong. Dial harshly and openly criticizes the student before ripping up the paper.

The video, says the Times, was recorded in fall of 2014 by an assistant teacher and sent to the press after the assistant was concerned about Ms. Dial’s teaching practices. The Times said they received the video in November after the assistant stopped working at Success.

Whereas the Times published the video clip as an example of regular occurrences at Success Academy schools, the school’s administration is saying the clip should be viewed as the teacher’s “absolute worst moment.”

Moskowitz has publicly criticized the Times for publishing the short video clip, saying it at just over 60 seconds it is long enough to go viral but too short to provide any background.

And according to Business Insider- there are a handful of Success Academy parents who are angry that publications like the New York Times are trying to sell them a certain narrative on their child’s school.

“Youssef Senhaji was one of dozens of parents and teachers who attended the Success Academy news conference to express their anger at the newspaper, which they said sold a false narrative about the schools,” said Business insider.

"For many parents at the news conference, last week's article seemed to aggravate a perception of The Times as lecturing minority parents in a paternalistic way. Success Academy has 11,000 students in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Its website indicates that 93% of its students are children of color, and 76% are from low-income households,” the article said.

One parent, Natasha Shannon, argued that she is not a poor or uninformed parent who is unaware of what’s available for her children in New York City schools.

"I chose Success. I made that choice because it's the best choice for my daughters,” Shannon told Business Insider.

While these parents have confidence in Success Academy’s teaching practices, it’s important to note that several parents are in the process of suing the charter school network.

Five parents have currently filed suit against Success Academy’s K-3 Fort Greene school after it was revealed its former principal Candido Brown had a “got to go” list of sixteen students who either had disabilities or were perceived to have disabilities.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/17/2016

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