April 16, 2023

Gary Rubinstein: Success Academy Attrition Worse Than Ever

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Gary Rubinstein has long tracked Success Academy, the widely-touted charter chain of New York City. And once again, a charter’s success is the result of smoke and mirrors.

On April 5th The New York Post published their annual ‘100% of Success Academy students get accepted into four-year colleges’ editorial. The class of 2023 will be the sixth graduating class of the infamous charter chain and according to the first paragraph of the editorial, Success Academy has accomplished this feat six years in a row.

I’ve been fact checking claims like this for about 12 years now and if you follow me at all you know that of course the 100% four year college admission statistic is a lie, but you will want to know how much of a lie it is this time.

Rubinstein has the resources and patience to track down the real numbers.

So The New York Post editorial mentions that 100% of the 117 students at Success Academy got into 4 year colleges. Looking back at the 2010-2011 school year, there were seven Success Academy schools that had a combined enrollment of 726 students. (For five of the schools I found Kindergarten stats for 2010-2011 but for the Harlem-5 school I used the 78 1st graders in 2011-2012 and for Bronx-2 I used the 93 2nd graders in 2012-2013). So this quick calculation leads to the lowest ever senior to Kindergarten ration of 117/726=16%. And remember, this is an overestimate since it doesn’t count all the students who left but were replaced.

But the craziest statistic I think I’ve ever come across in this type of research is the number of 11th graders that were in the school just one year earlier. It is hard to get this data sometimes because I had to look at Harlem-1 and Harlem-3 schools even though I think there is just one high school, it is kind of confusing. But it shows that Harlem-1 had 89 11th graders in 2021-2022 and Harlem-3 had 81 11th graders in 2021-2022. So this is 170 eleventh graders in 2021-2022 and now ‘100%’ of them are 117 students. But of course 117/170=69%. So where did 31% of the eleventh graders who were at Success Academy last year go? Well it is doubtful that so many would transfer out. It would be like dropping out of the marathon with 100 yards to go. Though it is possible that some transferred out when they were told that they would have to repeat 11th grade.

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