Eva Moskowitz is the founder and CEO of Success Academy, the highest performing and most controversial charter school network in New York City, and the subject of this season of StartUp. To understand Success, you have to understand Eva.

So on this episode, we go back to the beginning, looking at what got Eva interested in education in the first place, seeing the battles she fought on her way to starting Success, and watching as she opens her first schools. She cut her teeth serving on the New York City Council as chair of its Education Committee. In 2003, she did the unthinkable for a Democratic politician: she challenged the teachers’ union. The war that ensued would include protests outside her schools, parents opposing Success at local hearings, and a newly elected mayor trying to shut her down. Eva’s instinct to fight has helped keep Success Academy growing, but it has also made her a lot of enemies.



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00:00:57synchrony dot com at synchrony dot com if you want to understand success academy the charter school network or following the season you have to understand the driving force behind it its founder and CEO eva Moskowitz so we paid a visit to the people who have known her the
00:01:16longest her parents all we being recorded I'm just sitting and media and Marty Moscow it's live in a two bedroom apartment near Columbia University not far from the home were YVR grew up there in their eighties both retired professors and looking through family pictures you can tell that
00:01:34education was always taken very seriously in the Moscow it's household well it's her %HESITATION preschool graduation so she's like four four and a half in the photo shows her wearing a cap and gown they had a real graduation ceremony in there she is you can catch other early
00:01:56signs of the sort of person if it would become the thing she would place value in like with this one story that Marty told us a story which quick warning contains one four letter word it happened when evil was in elementary school she didn't really get along with
00:02:11her teacher and one day even arrived late to class the teacher had given out music so even several I I'd like to musing should we don't have anymore left and then some other kid came in even later and she gave that other kid a copy of the of
00:02:28music eva was very very angry at that and %HESITATION and I'm not going to tell you what what what will happen there but why what happened %HESITATION well it's more they did something bad finish the story well I I think I'll I'll tell you zone Marty wrote a
00:02:48note the way indeed and Marty remember it he wrote a note for eva to keep to herself a note to give her some comfort whenever she was feeling frustrated with her teacher and the note it didn't say the type of thing you'd expect the dad to write for
00:03:01his elementary school daughter and said dear miss Rubin **** Hugh Martin last she said the note was never intended for the teachers basically just %HESITATION well it was a way way for you and even to just like vent anger right exactly right exactly and even is that that's
00:03:21not the way it played out the next day at school eva went up to her teacher she said I have a note for you from my father which of course she knew was the wrong thing to do and she naps SL Marty was called into the principal's office
00:03:37and the principal said Mr Moskowitz a fellow educator I'm surprised at you and you know Marty apologized to principle to the teacher it was a bad thing but anyway she she couldn't for bear to not give the teacher this note welcome to start up I'm Lisa show feeling
00:04:03wrong in fighting back we'll see this over and over again with eva Moskowitz and because of that that four letter word you just heard it'll reappear last week on the show we went inside success academy it's the highest performing and most controversial charter school network in New York
00:04:20we got a glimpse of what success is doing differently today successes founder eva Moskowitz she's a lightning rod in New York City politics in the world of public education many people want her to fail because she's become a fierce charter school advocates in a very liberal town but
00:04:37also because she's handed a lot of **** you notes to a lot of people those notes have been an essential part of building success academy but as we'll see when you hand someone a **** you know it doesn't end there evil was raised in a family of public
00:05:02school believers but she also experienced first hand how segregated New York City schools were it was during her junior year of high school when she started to question the way the public school system was designed shoes volunteering with a group that help Cambodian refugees resettle in the city
00:05:19she found an apartment for one family but then had trouble finding their children a good school I was walking around Brooklyn and all the schools that were good they weren't zone for at all the schools that were back at the worst so far I don't even know what
00:05:37his own what's people would construct a zone to keep people out me I thought public education was equal and for all it was a basic an awful reality that evil was discovering where you live determines how good your school is meeting if you're poor you only really have
00:05:57access to bad schools this unfairness in the school system stayed with her to college and shore academic career then in the nineties she got involved in local politics she made education a main issue and want to see on the New York City Council at the time the city
00:06:15school system was among the most segregated in the country the majority of the city's one million public school students work reading or doing math at grade level only half we're on track to graduate from high school on time the picture was much better in the more affluent and
00:06:31wider parts of the city soon after joining the city council even became chair of the council's Education Committee to improve the city schools she decided she first needed to understand what was actually happening in them so she start inspecting them one by one she because the teachers interrogate
00:06:49the principles tracked down the custodians I I thought that I could visit all New York City schools this is typical eva ambitious exhaustive obsessive at the time they were around twelve hundred schools in New York City I only got and it killed me I only got to three
00:07:11hundred evil was trying to understand big issues like graduation rates in math proficiency but she started getting calls from constituents about more basic concerns councilmember Moscow to got to come to our school the toilet isn't working so I started going around to all the schools can't be we've
00:07:30custodians we have a capital budget of billions of dollars they just seem so far fetched but sure enough there was not a single case where they were wrong eva examined bathrooms and a few dozen schools today whenever I see that work she's always dressed up in stilettos and
00:07:49bright fitted dresses when I picture her back in her city council days meaning over toilet after toilet giving each attest flush this is how I picture her eva estimated that as many as a third of the bathrooms in the system or broken she told the department of education
00:08:06which he found the came back to her with a plan they presented their whole toilet fixing plan and of course they want to happen over five years and you say no no no this can't happen over five years this is actually an urgent schooling it's very challenging having
00:08:24five hundred kids and they can't use the bathroom the department of education fast tracked the toilet plan a few months later they call the but the teller was done the toilets were fixed even didn't buy it she wanted to hold them accountable and so she drafted **** you
00:08:41know number one because I don't trust them I would go back to the schools that I visited I remember calling the head of facilities I was in Chinatown never forget this saying this toilet problem is not soft she said eva I'm telling you it solves I'm calling her
00:09:06mind you from the bathroom I said well what about Piasts digit let me look at my list you look through it she said eva that was finished three months ago I said I'm standing here the toilets do not work and I'm sure she got off the phone and
00:09:26said oh my god this woman is crazy in our she's going to the schools personally it you know probably wasn't the best use of my time because I probably move the needle one percent and I spent hours and hours and my staff did and we tried every way
00:09:48to Sunday to get working toilets for kids a former facilities employee said the broken toilet problem wasn't as widespread as even describes that she was often calling for enhancements like a new flushing handle rather than fixes either way this does make eva seem crazy she's attacking the toilets
00:10:08with all her might causing bathrooms haranguing bureaucrats and then revisiting bathrooms but maybe you need that level of craziness to change a crazy system she was about to test that theory on a much bigger level for as evil was during the three hundred New York City public school
00:10:27buildings she started seeing things other than the broken toilets sign she thought pointed to larger problems in the school system I go look at the lunch room and it was food fights and the wrist ater chaos and there was one eight and I would see where the adults
00:10:45and I would say %HESITATION don't you know the teachers union contract prohibits teachers from doing lunch Judy the teachers union contract a document that protects the interests of teachers in traditional public schools she has her staff to get a copy of the teachers contract expecting something that was
00:11:03maybe twenty pages but instead it was three hundred pages in length was this giant document I thought no one nothing works this is madness the contract was packed with rules that seem to control every minute of the school day and he was a lot of things he believed
00:11:21were not in the best interests of kids for example that rule that kept teachers out of the lunch rooms that was in it and there were rules that promoted teachers based on seniority regardless of whether they were actually good instructors Dan Weisberg was head of labor policy for
00:11:38New York city's education department at the time any currently serves on success academies leadership council he says though seniority rules meant teachers who'd been in the system %HESITATION while clean and open job at a school with out the principal having any say in it a principal could have
00:11:55somebody walk into their office on the first day of school and say Mister ms Jones I'm here to claim your third grade teaching position you've never met me using get to interview me you have no idea who I am on my qualifications are whether I believe in your
00:12:12vision but by a contract I clean this position now is it there also rules on tenure Dan says the country basically ensure teachers a job for life if they met expectations to their first three years that's because the process for firing a bad teacher was long and complicated
00:12:31as a result something else would happen something that people called the dance of the lemons the dance alignments where teachers who everybody the system knew were not good would get bounced around I know I can't fire him or her little commiserate transfer to a different school in the
00:12:48next principles %HESITATION often Mister transfer to another school they get bounced around system for years and years those teachers were winding up predominately in low income communities so the kids who most desperately need is great teachers were least likely to get a Dan believes this is one of
00:13:07the main reasons schools in poor neighborhoods stay bad union officials disagree they say the school stay bad because they're underfunded and teacher turnover in them is actually really high and they're all the systemic factors like poverty and racism working against these kids but is eva study the three
00:13:26hundred page contract she became convinced that one of the biggest reasons New York City public schools were failing the kids were not achieving at the levels they should or could be was at the entire system was set up to protect the adults not the kids so they're all
00:13:43these things that principals new teachers knew it was common knowledge but it was not common knowledge to editorial boards to journalists to the general public certainly not to parents to even decided to make a common knowledge she wanted to expose a system she thought was broken failing at
00:14:03its core mission educating children and so as chair of the city council's Education Committee she put together a series of high profile public hearings to reveal exactly what was in these union contracts these hearings were her **** you know number two the hearings would make a name for
00:14:22eva she'd been fascinated by the Watergate and Iran contra hearings when she was younger those were her models now is your chance to grill school officials about the union contracts in front of city councillors journalists and the general public she thought if she could get people worked up
00:14:39over things like the dance of lemons that would bring pressure to change the contracts to build more accountability into the system this meant taking on the teachers union one of the most powerful forces in New York City politics a huge donor to the Democratic Party with hundreds of
00:14:56thousands of members ready to mobilize quickly in the days leading up to the hearings eva fell under attack getting barraged by calls insisting that she canceled the hearings mark Goldie was a lawyer any of the staff he was the main person helping her prepare for the earrings there's
00:15:13a lot of pressure and a lot of tension in the office and that why does not surprised but you know as you can know you can know what tidal waves coming and maybe that makes a little better when I finally lands but you're still soaking wet and you
00:15:24know them swimming against the tide and that's certainly what was happening even had asked several people to testify the earrings school principals officials at the department of education union representatives witnesses started canceling on her one principal asked her voice to be disguised in a taped testimony here my
00:15:43witnesses were intimidated they got threats I felt like I was in and godfather movie and I I I I had never been in a godfather movie before even when Ford with the hearings anyway they started on November twelfth two thousand three this in city hall you walk up
00:16:04the steps of the of the building has enough presence that makes you feel like you're going somewhere that matters the council chamber is it looks like a beautiful theater there were so many people you could knock on the door and the place was jammed to the rafters completely
00:16:19full hallway was overflowing eva sat at the front of the room flanked by our city council colleagues she presided over the hearing obviously I'm not blind to the controversy that has ensued as a result of holding these hearings the hearings lasted five days they discussed union rules on
00:16:39who paints classrooms what custodians were allowed to fix in schools and how schools maintenance budget was set the climax came when eva took up the three hundred page teachers contract Randi Weingarten the head of the U. S. T. New York City's teachers' union fired back if contract really
00:16:58delivered the nirvana for teachers that some think it does why aren't teachers knocking down our doors to get in and of teaching under this contract is such a cushy job why do one in four new teachers leave within a year and forty percent believe within three years in
00:17:18the extended back and forth the followed Randy statement she in eva found little common ground you clearly do not believe that seniority or experience you know and it Randy Randy now where I'm I'm not gonna have you tell me what I believe and don't believe because we don't
00:17:35know each other well enough for you to ascribe views to me at some point during the hearing even tried to nail Randy down on the part of the contract that allow teachers to show but a school on the first day of class and clean the job it's called
00:17:49a transfer plan but given the letter of the contract is it the case or is it not the case that a principal could have to accept a candidate site on scene is that correct or incorrect %HESITATION again there is no and I don't mean to be %HESITATION a
00:18:07pest but there is no U. F. T. transfer plan there is a plan that was negotiated starting in the mid sixties between the department could answer my question with two just it is it the case that a principal under any circumstance could have to take a candidate without
00:18:28ever having interviewed yes or no yes thank you in the end even got the media attention that she wanted newspapers including The New York Times devoted a lot of space to the hearings even had accomplished her goal of putting the problem she found in the contracts before the
00:18:46pa click but actually moving the dial on them turned out to be far more difficult when it came time to renegotiate the teachers contract the union brought intense pressure in the contract didn't change nearly as much as he but would have liked the whole experience left her feeling
00:19:03pretty disillusioned the team I was on the democratic team is the team that cares about the little guy that cares about the most vulnerable children and instead I got shot whoa this is different I. five I was fighting for justice and educational access only to be told don't
00:19:30say anything bad about public education that's not how we do things in the Democratic Party me my whole political narrative got up and even today that defeat continues to haunt her it still saddens me that we've made so little progress in so many children are trapped in schools
00:19:52that don't work on the most fundamental level and now I I just it makes me very sad eva's tangle with the union wasn't over yet did soon hand her another major defeat that's after the break this episode of startup is brought to you by PayPal with a PayPal
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00:22:27slash start up there for her the smartest way to hire welcome back to start up even first major clash with the teachers union the hearings in city hall on the teachers contract raised her profile in New York City and even took advantage of that she was a vicious
00:22:48and wanted to have a bigger impact on the city two two years later she decided to run for higher office the Manhattan borough president seat her campaign literature highlighted how dog G. been solving constituent complaints her tagline was don't get mad get eva but her hearing had created
00:23:07an enemy in the teachers union and they came out in force Jenny Seles worked on US campaign we would be on street corners campaigning and teachers were just shouted at the corner they were able to put flyers in every kid's backpack in the borough and the reason we
00:23:25found that out was because even own child got a flyer in his backpack comparing his mother to Krewella develop so we learned to cross the union at your peril eva had to be taken out that was the union's perspective the OKC with a high school teacher in New
00:23:42York City and a union member at the time he now runs the research arm of the national teachers' union he says eva's hearings felt like an attack on teachers in their right to bargain collectively you had to fight teachers off from coming to do phone calls and walked
00:23:58precincts to insure her defeat there was no choice but to oppose her and not Alexian then the New York times tells her campaign a serious blow its editorial board endorsed her opponent describing eva as quote smart and driven but abrasive evil was devastated he lost the election by
00:24:17nine percentage points and now she was out of a job she felt that all her hard work her relentless pursuit of the broken toilets her hearings on union contracts it had all been for nothing and then you've got a call that would change the course of her life
00:24:34one that would give her an entirely different platform to transform public education it came from to Wall Street investors who followed her education work on the city council I believe eva is as close to super woman as I'm ever going to meet there was no one else it
00:24:51was a visionary like evil and I'll probably never meet anyone like that again Joe Greenblatt and John Petrie run hedge funds and they're part of a group of Democrats a started donating to education reform efforts around this time and were active in trying to shape national policy the
00:25:07doctor few one off efforts at New York schools but they knew a one off wasn't going to really change the public education landscape cluster business guys so they were looking for something that was replicable something that could scale John and I think of business models and so our
00:25:24thought was let's create some kind of model iterate and expand so they filed an application to start a charter school their charter school would be non profit would still run on public money but it would have to follow the same rules as a traditional public school the founders
00:25:41would get to decide their own curriculum class size along the school day in your would be their teachers would be part of a union so they could hire and fire who they wanted to they would have all this freedom as long as they showed a certain level of
00:25:55student performance as measured by standardized test scores John John offer even the chance to lead their charter school but they were the only ones who wanted eva's expertise the head of the department of education a guy named Joel Klein also offer diva position even though she'd been a
00:26:13thorn in his side she earned his respect and he asked her to run a new teacher training program so evil could stick with the public education system she spent years advocating for or abandon it all together she chose the second option to abandon it she joined to join
00:26:31John to lead what they call Harlem success charter school sending the New York City public school establishment one which each struggle to make changes **** you know number three now instead of examining the problems of an entire school system she was actually in charge of building a school
00:26:49from scratch she was on her own and she wants to make it happen our school Harlem success would start with the kindergarten and first grade one of its first needs families that would take the risk on a brand new school that I'd never educated a single child even
00:27:10started firing on street corners knocking on doors in public housing complexes making the rounds the Tasha Shannon whose daughter ended up and rolling in the first year of the school told our producer heather Rogers about hearing eva's pitch miss Moskowitz visited the head start program the day care
00:27:28that my daughter was attending and pitched the idea of a school that she was starting with no building and no teachers nothing at the time just said I have this vision your children will graduate college but did she like have a plan like okay this is how we're
00:27:46finding teachers this is how we're finding space did she tell you about that stuff known no nothing not at all actually which would take a chance with that her vision was better than my reality her vision was better than the failing schools of the neighborhood what was that
00:28:05like to hear that when your child was four years old to hear someone say that not only do I believe that your child is capable but I'm going to help them to get there meant everything getting kids on track to finish college was one of successes key goals
00:28:26in fact the school called its inaugural first graders the class of twenty twenty two the year they graduate from college not high school around that college promise the envisioned a curriculum with rigorous math science starting in kindergarten a school day extended diffident extracurricular is like music and chest
00:28:45and parents reading to their kids every night these for lofty goals success like other charters was free and open to any student who applied had more applications and it could accommodate its first year so the a hundred and sixty five kindergarten and first grade students that success welcomed
00:29:03on its first day were chosen through a random lottery leading up to that first day Stacy Gribskov it founding teacher remember spending a lot of time working on bulletin boards and skits welcoming the students but in all of that the forgotten some basic schooling things the night before
00:29:22school started I remember sitting down with my co teacher and saying okay well what are we can teach tomorrow like what happens at seven fifteen and seven thirty seven forty five and then we don't have any time during the day to talk and so then at five PM
00:29:39we would go back up stairs and say okay well what we do tomorrow it quickly became apparent that across the school people or making it up as they went along including eva even well into the first year I thought she had way more plans and experience and knowledge
00:29:58than she did %HESITATION I don't think I knew how much she was just kind of doing it bill as he she says building the plane as we flew it for six or seven months it was not a great school it turns out that actually running a school was
00:30:12a lot trickier than critiquing a school system she faced a stream of small and large crises that needed fixing before she could even start to think about what kids should be learning just like when as a city councillor she set out to improve literacy and math proficiency in
00:30:27schools and ended up fixing toilets in the first week of the new school Iverson Jolin John an email outlining a few of the crises should run into among the problem she outlined bad teachers crying teachers students threatening teachers parents threatening the school spotty electricity and milk that was
00:30:49frozen solid another problem early on and your heart bugs bugs lice bed bugs weevils in the school snacks and I guess I should have been ready for all of it but when it's all raining down on you it's not like you three weeks in between box there coming
00:31:11yeah and parents are very upset well all these unforeseen crises crawling around outside the classroom the root causes for alarm in the classroom to three weeks into school evil was stunned to walk into a math lesson discover that they had only gone up to the number seven most
00:31:30of them knew the number seven you don't spend three weeks on the number seven and I gather the teachers and I said yeah doesn't seem idiotic and they said yes as well why didn't you tell me I usually told me three weeks ago and their response was we
00:31:47didn't no we could do something about it and what are we gonna do about it and I said I don't know what we're gonna do about it but we're not going to stick with the number seven the absurdity of it taking three weeks to get to seven rate
00:32:00of about one number learned every two days made it clear to you that that the curriculum they've chosen to use just didn't match her ambitions she knew kids could do more so they took a pretty radical step one fit for start up school they scrapped most of the
00:32:16curriculum pulled from other resources and wrote their own so on top of everything else they were juggling teachers now had to start over and rebuild their lesson plans from the ground up as a small start up success was nimble and can make changes like this at lightning speed
00:32:32compared to traditional public schools and for people with experience in traditional public schools there was another thing that felt different this was a school with resources Paul is Elkins been a couple of years teaching in a public school before she came to success even have this beautiful classroom
00:32:50with the books that you needed to teach and nothing was broke and and it was clean and there is always toilet paper and paper towels and soap and snack everyday that you didn't buy for the children and to this day I have no idea how the financing of
00:33:07all of this for I don't think I want to know here's how the financing works each year success got money from the government for every student the educated the more kids they were able to draw into their school and away from other schools the more money they got
00:33:23they also got a couple million dollars from John John to cover start up costs to get the school through its first year by their third year if everything went right the school should be breaking even on public money and not need anymore from people like to on John
00:33:39so success could move fast they had money and they were different in another important way they thought a lot of schools lowered their expectations for poor kids for black and Latino kids evil refused to do that Jim Manley was an early leader at success he had taught for
00:33:56several years before coming to work for eva and like many of his white middle class colleagues he made certain assumptions about what disadvantaged students could handle I would often say well you know that test is too challenging or I'm not sure that we should be rushing them to
00:34:10read you know %HESITATION this book %HESITATION and she would just look at me and say well you know do your kids read those books and I would say yes my kids read those books which is about them you know let's read those books %HESITATION there is %HESITATION talk
00:34:21about what we're gonna do for Halloween %HESITATION and a lot of the teacher said you know well we shouldn't celebrate Halloween you know the kids bring in %HESITATION fake weapons and put masks on me we should just have a harvest festival and you know even just turned to
00:34:35me and she said like are your kids dressing up for Halloween in their school is it absolutely yeah by some to be a super hero my daughter will be a princess or whatever and she said well the exactly right kids love dressing up in costumes they love Holly
00:34:47and so let's have a Halloween parade and I really appreciated that kids are just amazingly flexible human beings and if you give them the right supports in the right environment the sky's the limit and either a definitely changed my thinking in terms of the work that students could
00:35:02could take on that first year eva kept retooling recalibrating and pushing her teachers to expect more from their kids and little by little it started to be off the show care Kappa a first grade teacher was working with their students on early literacy skills were teaching kids are
00:35:20the basics of the coding and eight weeks into the program %HESITATION they can all read these accountable books and really going my god nobody could read it and you know the parents were so excited My Baby can read the kids are so excited everyone carrying these like little
00:35:33paper books everywhere as a city councillor eva had attacked problem after problem from toilets to tenure with the high expectations **** you know relentlessness but she made incremental progress now she had built in education lab where she could direct that seem energy at constantly testing an improving how
00:35:52much kids can learn and not surprisingly she wasn't satisfied with just one lab at the end of successes first year she invited the press into the school Elizabeth green was there she's an education reporter was followed success since that first year and she was stunned when she heard
00:36:09what even announced she was serving a hundred sixty five students but she had already decided that she was going to open forty schools in a decade that was crazy all in New York City on York City something that nobody had done and start a new school system from
00:36:29scratch and Sears is honest like one block of Harlem like I'm gonna take over the whole city it's all going to be like wiped the desire to build an entire network of schools to growth is unprecedented rates came in part from the overwhelming demand success that scene when
00:36:49it opened and if even was going to make even a tiny dent in the systemic inequality the gutter focused on education in the first place she was going to have to build a lot more schools evil also saw her school as being a proof point the poor kids
00:37:04could achieve the same level as rich kids if given the right supports to prove that it's possible and it's not more oculus to have a great school ing and my thought was that if you had forty some the cynics it would have to save all the idealists are
00:37:28right and and the cynics would have to say on but making that case to the cynics that was not going to be easy the same **** you know to approach that was energizing eva's charter school crusade would also start to throw up major roadblocks that's after the break
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00:39:31basically it like finding a home mortgage but instead of it being a house that the solar project and instead of a home owner it's a business or school or a hospital Brian Burr sick is the CEO of wonder capital and wonder capital is pretty simple when you invest
00:39:46the money is used to make loans for solar projects and as the business or school repays the loan investors have the opportunity to earn returns up to seven point five percent annually most of our systems contribute between sixteen eighty percent of consumptive need about site really a lot
00:40:07and there are a lot of potential investments wonder capital seeks out projects that touch a lot of people in the community warehouses were people work and schools where kids can watch their solar panels go up and what we are innovating around in the space is the ability to
00:40:23do these %HESITATION much more common spaces and that's frankly a big part of the reason why we can deliver investors %HESITATION we see is really attractive returns because there aren't many people coming down into these %HESITATION on a relative scale smaller projects and financing them accredited investors can
00:40:40learn more about wonder capital at wonder capital dot com slash start out that's W. U. N. D. E. R. capital dot com slash start out welcome back to start up in the fall of two thousand eight two years after her first school had opened evil launched three new
00:41:02schools it was the first step and successes forty school expansion plan thirty six hundred students applied for the six hundred spots at the new schools success took this is a clear sign the families were desperate for schools like the ones they were building but not everyone was eager
00:41:18for eva to open more schools people started picketing outside of these new success schools the protesters included union members who opposed eva and the non union job she was creating there also people from the neighborhood who did like the idea of charter schools coming in the fight got
00:41:39even more intense more emotional because of something called colocation colocation is one multiple schools share space inside the same public school building in successes case that men putting charter schools and traditional schools eva Moskowitz and the unions side by side in the same building sharing the cafeteria Jim
00:42:03auditorium and stairwells success is planned open forty schools in ten years was built on the financial assumption that they could open the schools an existing public school buildings buildings that were under utilized for student Roman had declined and it would save success millions of dollars they would otherwise
00:42:22have to spend on renting space for building new buildings of course what I'm paper looks like on you space but in practice often rooms at the existing schools have found uses for informal meeting or counseling spaces rooms for art or science labs infer resource starved public schools shiny
00:42:40new charter schools pushing them out of the spaces seems like salt in the wound that is in front of us this evening these issues came to a head of public hearings where the department of education would hear out people's views on successes new school openings before signing off
00:42:58on the colocation any hearing on successes second school success academy Harlem to opponents and supporters filed into a school auditorium to weigh in woman takes the microphone eva Moskowitz would you be for will not lead to disrespect this particular hearing was captured in a documentary film called the
00:43:25lottery the people in the audience are divided some are wearing success academy hats others have on teacher union hats so ninety canton lives in Harlem and heads a local pair group that advises the city on public school policy she says underpinning this tension between the opponents and success
00:43:42was the issue of race eva Moskowitz and most of successes staff or white the majority of students in Harlem are black and brown we want people that look like us teaching our kids we're not saying that all the people have to look like us but there should be
00:43:58a decent amount of people that look like the children you serve in that understand their culture did you did you have in those schools actually no no the community a lot of her school's had been moving into Harlem during this time into some they felt like an attack
00:44:14on older public schools institutions that had a long history in the community well then you would not he engine to it's the PS one ninety four is and we will I repeat we will not give this fight the even though the issue seems simple the educational needs or
00:44:47so %HESITATION so profoundly reach wire we even having this discussion shouldn't it be if their space if the quality of the school is good why wouldn't that be a no brainer to help make her case at this hearing eva used the tactic from her old political days she
00:45:06mobilized her constituents success academy parents we had five hundred parents who you know I live in the Martin Luther king houses here are my children five and seven one a would you prevent me from going to the school okay she we now we now we try to she's
00:45:44going to bring it he Jim Manley discuss the Halloween celebration with eva was principal of the school being debated he says the meeting was intense and emotional and even though success faced a lot of blow back there was one moment that also reminded him why he believed in
00:46:03their work a dad walked up with his daughter %HESITATION and you know he actually lifted her up and he's said Mister Manley who is this %HESITATION and I said her name and wasn't sure what he was doing and then he you know he proceeded say I was in
00:46:18New York City public schools for twelve him thirteen years %HESITATION and so I get choked up place like no one ever knew my name and you know the school does my daughter in the care and %HESITATION you know I just was %HESITATION it was just incredibly powerful just
00:46:37to hear some folks experiences with with public schools and what they hadn't gotten %HESITATION and %HESITATION their allegiance to what we are trying to do six Aston get space at this particular school depart of education backtracked on the colocation because the opposition and because of a lawsuit from
00:46:58the teachers union and the New York civil liberties union success eventually found space in another school opponents have continued to fight most of the new schools success academy is opened and eva has regularly turn success into a political mobilizing operation which is help them win a lot of
00:47:15those fights within five years they would have twenty one schools across Brooklyn Manhattan and the Bronx the thing that helped fuel that growth despite all the opposition that proved success was on to something was the charter school networks test scores of their very first batch of students to
00:47:34take statewide standardized tests ninety five percent had passed math in eighty eight percent had passed English those scores were about double the city wide average test scores are everything for a charter school leader Elizabeth green was a reporter who covered the press conference a success during its first
00:47:53year she's also the founder of talk be an education news site they are the key to the money I. E. donors they are the key to staying open they are the keys to the students so test scores our everything soon other charter school leaders were calling success task
00:48:14how they were doing so well on their tests eva your test scores were awesome can be calm and figure out what you did successes incredible test scores have themselves been a sort of **** you know from eva one that she hands to the New York City public schools
00:48:29dabble shipment year after year the note basically says **** all your excuses for why black and brown kids can't achieve at the same level as white kids roof they can next time on start up we try to figure out how success gets it scores we go inside it's
00:48:52test taking machine and see the crazy lex the school goes to get those results all sorry is hosted by me Lisa check out this episode was produced by Bruce Wallis Molly Messick heather Rogers and Sindhu Jana somebody editing by Serra Serra said in a manual berry with help
00:49:22from until %HESITATION Felino Laura Mars Kareem Matix Peter rezant Erin Kelly and robs ipko the audio of the two thousand and three Education Committee hearings came from the New York public radio archives special thanks to Madeline Sackler who directed the documentary film the lottery and retool McCormick our
00:49:43theme song is by mark Phillips build buildings road performed or special add music for full music credits visit our website gimlet media dot com slash start up Peter Leonard mix the episode to subscribe to start up good apple podcast or whichever you like to use and while you're
00:50:00there leave a review find out more about the show gimlet media dot com you can follow us on Twitter at podcast start up thanks for listening and before I forget we're taking thanksgiving off so we'll see you in two weeks hi this is for like two men and
00:50:24I host game once every little thing a show where we answer listener questions like this one from a listener who has a thing for cemeteries if your great great what would you find the answer won't disappoint you when they went down there to look there was a guy
00:50:41in a blue suit find out what's in a grave by subscribing to every little thing and looking for grades in the feed thanks to our sponsors a burger zipper herders powerful matching technology scans thousands of resumes identifies people with the right skills education and experience for your job
00:51:03and then actively invites them to apply to get qualified candidates fast right now started listeners can try ziprecruiter for free at ziprecruiter dot com slash start out that ziprecruiter dot com slash start up one more time for the folks in the back ziprecruiter dot com slash start up
00:51:22zipper herder the smartest way to hire before we go I have a favor to ask we argument would like to know more about you so we put together a survey for you at startup listener doc club it will only take a few minutes to fill out but if
00:51:38you do will enter you into a drawing to win a free one year gimlet membership which includes a free T. shirt that start up listener dot club for the survey

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