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Politico reports that a former central staff member of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain alleges widespread cheating on tests, as well as high staff turnover and demoralization.
“Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz did not approve of the finding — made by an “ethnographer” she hired to study her rapidly expanding charter school network — that some teachers at the high-performing network might be responding to the enormous pressure placed on them by cheating.
“So Moskowitz, Success’s combative founder, deployed senior managers to inform the staffer, Roy Germano, that he was banned from visiting schools for the remainder of the year. Moskowitz disparaged Germano to other employees, according to a memo written by Germano in July 2015 and obtained by POLITICO New York, and he was told to halt his research projects immediately.
“Germano was fired last August, approximately a month after the report was completed, and is now a research scholar at New York University.
“Germano’s reports and memo, along with a trove of other documents obtained by POLITICO — a separately commissioned internal draft risk assessment report, a compilation of exit interviews, and internal Success staffing records, among other documents — paint a picture of a growing enterprise facing serious institutional strain in the form of low staff morale, unusually high turnover, and the kind of stress that could drive teachers to exaggerate their students’ progress.”
Success Academy is the highest scoring charter chain in New York, possibly the nation. It is also very controversial, due to its no-excuses policies, it’s attrition rates, and its claim to have cracked the code of raising test scores of low-income minority children. At its last fundraiser, last month, it raised $35 million in one night, including a gift of $25 million from one of its hedge fund admirers.