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The importance of New York City charter school networks' diverse goals

David Levin, the co-founder of the Knowledge is Power Program, with students.
David Levin, the co-founder of the Knowledge is Power Program, with students.
Image via Chris Hondros / Newsmakers

Since numerous charter school networks exist in New York City, noting how the varying educational goals and approach of each network will benefit individuals who want to understand effective schooling practices and philosophies and parents who want to identify the charter schools that fit their children well.

According to the New York City Charter School Center, charter schools are public institutions that do not operate under the governance of the city's Department of Education. Instead, the charter, or a school performance contract, is the basis of their functioning.

Charter school leaders can shape many aspects of their schools, including their educational goals and student behavior standards. Due to this flexibility, charter school networks can differ in the learning outcomes they want for their students. These are the educational goals of five prominent charter school networks, which are documented on their webpages:

  • Public Prep Charter Schools runs six single-sex schools that strive for progress in the five categories outlined in the Public Prep North Star of College Completion: "Character Development", "Academic Achievement", and "College Knowledge" relate to student development, and Organizational Stability and Family and Scholar Satisfaction and Engagement are additional components that impact student academic outcomes.
  • Explore Schools operates four K-8 schools in Brooklyn, whose purpose is to equip students with critical thinking skills and academic knowledge so that they will flourish in a college preparatory high school.
  • Knowledge is Power Program New York City (KIPP:NYC) is a network of 10 schools whose “Work hard. Be nice” slogan captures its emphasis on student learning and character development so that students are well prepared for college and for life beyond it.
  • Success Academy Charter Schools emphasizes college graduation as its primary goal for its students. Success Academy implements this goal through taking a novel approach to classroom teaching and by emphasizing the development of certain values, such as curiosity and perseverance, within its students.
  • Democracy Prep Charter Schools strives to educate its students in both core academic subjects and civic engagement by implementing an 8 hour school day, a 190 day school year, and community engagement-related initiatives such as voting campaigns and speech and debate activities.

Each charter school network strives to instill specific bodies of knowledge and character traits within its students, and understanding the nuances of each network's mission will benefit stakeholders of New York City's education system.

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