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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

It’s not the teachers

John Merrow decided to calculate which school leader was making the most money based on the number of students enrolled.

Carmen Farina pulls down about $.20 per child, $.40 if you include her pension.

“New York’s most prominent charter school operator is, of course, Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academies. She has received a significant pay raise and now makes $567,000 a year, as Ben Chapman reported in the New York Daily News. Success Academies enrolls 11,000 students, the same number as in Chicago’s Noble Network.

“Let’s do the math. 567,000 divided by 11,000 equals 51.35, meaning that Ms. Moskowitz is earning $51.35 per student, nearly two-and-one-half times what Mr. Milkie is paid per student.

“If Carmen Fariña were running Success Academies instead of the nation’s largest school district, at her current pay rate of 40 cents per student she’d be earning $4400 a year!

“Put another way, Eva Moskowitz is being paid about 128 times more per student than Chancellor Fariña.”

But guess what? Eva is not the highest paid charter leader.

Who could it be?

“Like Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academies, this network loses a lot of students, but, unlike Success Academies, the remaining students here perform poorly. Here’s the percentage of students in one school who scored ‘proficient’ in English Language Arts, by grade: 5th-8%; 6th-12%; 7th-11%; and 8th-28%. In another school, 4%, 20%, 17% and 30% .

“In Math: 5th-6%; 6th-36%; 7th-52%; and 8th-48%. In another school, 27%, 37%, 39% and 34%. (And as the NAEP scores below suggest, those high-ish math scores may be illusory.)

“Scores on the NAEP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, were unimpressive. In 4th grade, 36% scored ‘proficient’ in Reading and 35% in Math. In 8th grade, 33% scored ‘proficient’ in Reading and 31% in Math. In another of her schools the respective numbers are 36%, 35% 33% and 31%.

“This same charter network has famously high turnover rates among teachers too. In the most recent report, 38% of teachers departed, meaning that 4 out of every 10 teachers left. In another school, 31% left. One thing that students in high-poverty schools need is continuity, which they apparently do not get in this network.

“Oh, by the way, the CEO who makes all that money also has her own car and driver, according to Ben Chapman of the Daily News.

“I am referring to Dr. Deborah Kenny, the founder of Harlem Village Academies, a network of just five schools and 1400 students. Somehow, I suspect she’s happy to have Eva Moskowitz taking all the flack in the media about harsh discipline and high turnover rates, because that means her network’s performance is not being scrutinized. It clearly should be.”