Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, April 6, 2015

NY Times Reports On Eva Moskowitz, Success Academies: Stress, Misery And Urine

One of the big takeaways from a NY Times report on Eva Moskowitz and Success Academies that went up today:

Send your child there if you want them to experience stress, misery and sitting in their urine.

In a rare look inside the network, including visits to several schools and interviews with dozens of current and former employees, The New York Times chronicled a system driven by the relentless pursuit of better results, one that can be exhilarating for teachers and students who keep up with its demands and agonizing for those who do not.


One consequence of the competitive environment is a high rate of teacher turnover. Some teachers who left said that the job was too stressful. Others said they left because they disagreed with the network’s approach, particularly when they believed it was taken to extremes. In an internal email that some former teachers said typified the attitude at some schools, one school leader said that students who were lagging should be made to feel “misery.” Suspension rates at Success schools, compared with public schools, are higher.

Former staff members described students in third grade and above wetting themselves during practice tests, either because teachers did not allow them to go to the restroom, which Ms. Moskowitz disputed, or because the students themselves felt so much pressure that they did not want to lose time on the test.

Jasmine Araujo, 25, who joined Success through the Teach for America program, quit after half a year as a special-education teacher at Success Academy Harlem 3. She now teaches at a charter school in New Orleans. “I would cry almost every night thinking about the way I was treating these kids, and thinking that that’s not the kind of teacher I wanted to be,” Ms. Araujo said.


Most of the former teachers interviewed, however, said that they left not because of the workload, but because they disagreed with Success’s approach, which they found punitive.

One teacher complained that she was expected to announce all of her students’ scores on practice tests, by asking those who had scored a four to stand up, followed by those with a three and then those with a two. The teacher and her colleagues persuaded their supervisors not to make students with a score of one stand up, but those students were still left conspicuously sitting down, she said.

At one point, her leadership resident — what the network calls assistant principals — criticized her for not responding strongly enough when a student made a mistake. The leadership resident told her that she should have taken the student’s paper and ripped it up in front of her. Students were not supposed to go to the restroom during practice tests, she said, and she heard a leader from another school praise the dedication of a child who had wet his pants rather than take a break.

“I dreaded going into work,” the teacher, who now teaches in a public school, said.

Other former staff members also described students having wet themselves, in some cases during practice tests. Two former staff members who worked at Success Academy Harlem West, a middle school, in the 2013-14 school year, said that they recalled having to go to the supply closet to get extra underwear and sweatpants, which were always on hand, for students who had wet themselves.

Even more:

On April 1, 2012, a leadership resident at Success Academy Harlem 2, Lauren Jonas, sent an email to her fourth grade teachers.

The email, provided by a former staff member, said that the results on a recent, three-day practice test were “not what we had hoped for.”

“You must demand every single minute,” Ms. Jonas wrote. “You must have higher behavioral and academic expectations than ever before.” Every letter was capitalized.

Nine to 12 students had failed to use the test-taking strategies they had been taught, known as the “plan of attack,” Ms. Jonas wrote.

“We can NOT let up on them,” she continued. “Any scholar who is not using the plan of attack will go to effort academy, have their parent called, and will miss electives. This is serious business, and there has to be misery felt for the kids who are not doing what is expected of them.”

This is the charter network that Governor Cuomo and Campbell Brown are going to raise money for in a couple of weeks. 

This is what "excellence" looks like to our elites.

Sounds more like a Dickensian nightmare to me.


  1. Success Academies sound like chambers of horror. Why would any parent want to subject a child to this?

    1. I can't speak for anybody else, but you can be sure I wouldn't subject my child to this kind of abuse.

  2. This is outrageous and disgusting. I hope Governor Cuomo, Speaker Heastie, Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan are happy.

    The New York County DA should immediately open an investigation into this matter. Not letting kids go to the bathroom and making them sit in urine? Having "failing" students stand up? Sure sounds like abuse to me.

    This is where my tax dollars are going? This is the bunch we want to takeover "failing" schools? This is why we want to raise or even eliminate the charter school cap?

    What does Ms. Tisch have to say about this? The Board of Regents should open an investigation and consider rescinding these charters. An utter disgrace.

    1. From the NYT article:

      "Success Academy supplements the public money it receives with money raised from private donors. In its 2013 fiscal year, the most recent for which fund-raising figures are publicly available, it received nearly $72 million in public funds and $22 million in donations."

    2. That's why Cuomo and Skelos are pushing the tax credit. These creeps want a full write off on the money they spend destroying public education.

    3. That's $94 million to run 32 schools and a maximum of 3,000 students (before counseling out). No sports teams, no Regents level lab facilities, limited IEP students, and cheap rent-a-teachers. $30,000+ per child. No wonder Evil gets to skim a half million a year.

    4. Well, to be fair, they need that extra cash for the sweat pants they give the kids after they wet themselves.

    5. Wow, you smug-faced... er-um... paler liberals are a trip. I'm a darker-melanin liberal and I'm so sorry that the thought of the urine of a student who may have doors thrown open to them because of high test scores is so upsetting to you! Would you rather that they continue to desperately drown in them muck of your truncated, mighty-white absence of faith condemns them to? Does that make you feel better? More powerful? More teacherly? Does a safe environment for these students to shine, like YOU said they couldn't bother you? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

      Improve yourself.
      Get better.
      Don't destroy what you couldn't help succeed.
      Grow up, failed teachers.
      Get better.
      It's not just about you.

  3. The UFT/NYSUT should demand state and federal investigations TODAY!! This is horrible, if not criminal, stuff. Any politician that goes to the April 20 fundraiser should be publicly shamed. This is mind-boggling stuff.

    1. After losing big to Cuomo in the budget fight, I would doubt NYSUT/UFT will look to take on Eva. Remember how they failed to back de Blasio up in fight with Eva last year? They're scared of her.

  4. Where is SED? Are they going to investigate this disgrace? The teachers involved should have their "moral character" looked into. This is a frightening story.

    1. SED is working to get the charter cap lifted so Eva can get to 100 schools. That's where they are...