The first school opened in Harlem on Aug. 20, 2006. The 165 kindergartners and first-graders, chosen by lottery, shared a building with a traditional public school. Now there are 41 Success schools, serving 14,000 children. The waiting list has nearly doubled in the past three years to about 17,000, and over the next decade the plan is to expand to 100 schools serving 50,000 children, which would rival the size of the Atlanta and Boston public-school districts. The academic results of the charter schools probably best explain this phenomenal demand for more seats. Last year, Success students scored in the top 1% in math and the top 3% in reading among all schools in New York state. The math exam pass rate of 72% among Success students with disabilities was more than double the citys pass rate among students without disabilities. Success charters, which enroll a disproportionate number of low-income black and Hispanic students, also have made huge strides toward closing the racial achievement gap. With 1.1 million students, New York Citys public-school system is by far the nations largest, and around 75% of its black and Hispanic charges perform below grade level. Thats not the case at Success Academy.
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