Magazine article Reason

How to Fix Our Schools

Magazine article Reason

How to Fix Our Schools

Article excerpt

Eva Moskowitz is the founder of Success Academy Charter Schools, a network of schools in New York City that aims to produce better educational outcomes than traditional unionized public institutions by holding students and their parents to higher standards. Reason TV's Nick Gillespie spoke with Moskowitz in September about how to fix our broken education system. To see more of the interview, go to reason.com.

Q: Do you think your model is replicable, or how much of it revolves around you? With education reform, often there's a particular person who creates a model and then as that person fades out of the picture, things fall apart.

A: I don't think the [traditional public school] district is scalable. We have proof, at least in New York City, that scaling didn't work very well. In New York state we have close to a million kids who failed the test. I don't know under what measure that could be a successful scaling experience.

So maybe the [correct] model is not one giant system. Maybe the model is lots of social entrepreneurs who have school districts of various sizes. That's why I support everything from tax credits to charters to bold district reform. We've got to try a bunch of things and see if we can get real talent into the space.

Q: Are the parents of the 18,000 kids who apply for your schools radically different from the parents who either don't care or don't know about charter schools?

A: This is sort of an unknowable question, but I spent a lot of time with parents before I opened the first school. I did PTA meetings, hundreds and hundreds of meetings, and I have met very few parents who do not deeply, deeply love and care for their children.

Q: There is a fair amount of attrition in your schools.

A: No, actually, that's inaccurate. …

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