Public education in the United States is in crisis. So much so, American students tend to fall far below their counterparts in other developed countries in testing, and within the United States public school students are failing or dropping out in record numbers.
Charter schools in the U.S., however, are often educating and graduating students with exceptional testing scores and with the ability to be accepted at some of the best universities in the country. Charter schools like New York-based Success Academy network are doing so without any of the typical problems public schools have to face. How has this happened, and what has Success Academy done to avoid the problems public schools generally face.
Discipline, a dress code and hard work — Much of the life of a student at a Success Academy school is based around three things. Discipline, a dress code and hard work.
What that means is, unlike in public schools where dress code is lax, where discipline is overlooked as teachers are simply overwhelmed, and where hard work is not stressed, Success Academy stresses all three.
That is because its founder believes, if these three things are covered it then leaves the school free to offer a high quality education for all of its students, without having to waste its precious time and resources on other things.
The type of education a Success Academy student receives — The type of education a typical student at a Success Academy receives is markedly different from that of a normal public school as well.
Instead, of being stuck in a classroom all day listening to a teacher talk, a Success Academy student only has 80 minutes of formal instruction. The rest of the day is spent working on group projects with peers, inquiry-based learning and being involved in electives like playing chess, dancing, photography, robotics and entrepreneurship.
For a Success Academy student that means, while discipline may be strict, the education itself and the being in school is fun and, while subjects like English, math and science are stressed, they are presented in a way that students enjoy.
No wonder Success Academy students test in the top 10 percent of the state in all the core subjects.