Success Academy, a group of 34 K-12 charter schools operated throughout New York City, prides itself on an "engaging and rigorous approach" to learning. According to a video "surreptitiously recorded" and leaked to the New York Times, however, that rigor may have been taken a bit too far.
In the video below a teacher at one of the schools in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn can be seen watching a first-grader count to two before ripping up the paper in front of her.
Charlotte Dial, the teacher seen in the video, is so well-regarded at her school that she was promoted last year to the role of "model teacher," the Times reported.
There's a debate in the Times piece over whether Dial's decision to rip up the paper is an isolated incident of a reflection of a larger systemic issue within Success Academy. The founder of the Success Academy schools, Eva Moskowitz, said she thought it was "an anomaly." On the other hand, the Times says, they spoke with 20 (!) current and former Success Academy teachers, and the consensus was that, though extreme, "much of (her behavior) is not uncommon within the network."
In some schools, it was even codified:
At some schools, there was even a term for it. “It was ‘rip and redo,’” Ayanna Legros, who taught at Success Academy Harlem 1 for about seven months in the 2013-14 school year, said. “It’s embarrassing” for students, she said, “so the idea is that you won’t want to ever have that moment again in the classroom.” She is now teaching part time while in graduate school.
Earlier this week, Success Academy was sued for "illegal and discriminatory" practices against one kid "based on his learning disabilities," according to a Capital New York report. Moskowitz, once again, said she believed it to be "an anomaly."
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.