Corporate Reform Discipline Education Reform Harlem Success Academy

Reformers’ React to Eva’s Latest PR Problem

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The video of a teacher at Success Academy humiliating a first-grade student for failing to write the correct answer went viral. Scores of blogs around the world posted the video.


How did reformers react to the dilemma of their superstar?


Derrell Bradford defended Eva and agreed with her that the event was an insignificant anomaly. He is a member of her board and leader of NYCan. Before that, he led NJ4Kids on behalf of two billionaires. He agreed with Eva that her critics are “haters” who are jealous of her success.


Bradford wrote on Campbell Brown’s blog (Brown is also a member of the Success Academy board)


“So for all the Success haters out there I have some advice. If you want Success, or other “no excuses” schools to go away because you think your own brand of education is superior, because you don’t respect that other parents like it and seek it out, you don’t value the structure, or you want your kid to be a grass-fed open-range child, then you just have to, counterintuitively, do one thing: open more charter schools.”


But another reformer broke ranks. RiShawn Biddle wrote in his blog that it was no longer possible to defend Eva.



He reviews the numerous examples of the harsh disciplinary methods of SA, then concludes:



“The most-damning evidence that Dial’s misbehavior is no anomaly became clear last October when Moskowitz released the school discipline record of one of the operators former students, the son of Fatima Geidi, a parent interviewed by Merrow for his report on Success, as part of the operator’s crisis management campaign against the piece. By doing this, Moskowitz likely violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the federal law that governs the privacy of student records, which bars Success from releasing discipline records without the permission of families. Even worse, by citing the discipline record of Geidi’s son, Moskowitz betrayed the school reform movement’s mission of nurturing and protecting the lives and futures of children. She used the life of a child who may be in need of real help as ammunition against a negative media report.

“But again, this is nothing new. Over the past five months, Moskowitz has shown that she will always choose to preserve the institution she founded over being a champion for children and their families. In that time, she has shown that she is more-willing to protect the teachers and school leaders that work for Success than be defenders of the young lives who sit in its classrooms. And over and over again, like a traditionalist superintendent in a failing district, Moskowitz has demonstrated that she will explain away any incident as an “anomaly” instead of acknowledging that there may be some deep-seated issues within the institution and its model of educational practice.

“At a certain point, either Moskowitz or Success Academy’s star-studded board, must acknowledge that when the institution has several incidents of educational malpractice, they are no longer anomalies. They represent the norm for the institution itself. Success Academy no longer merits a defense, especially from school reformers who, like Born-Again Christians, know better and should no longer tolerate its malpractice.”
Biddle is a reformer with principles.




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