When I found out that Success Academy won the right to once again provide pre-K in New York City free of interference from the Department of Education, I was thrilled. Even though the decision won’t affect my family (my two sons are finishing kindergarten and third grade at Success Academy Harlem 1), I am excited because I’ve seen first-hand just how special Success Academy’s pre-K is. It’s so important that this program be free from the DOE’s red tape.
For the past year, the city has withheld public funding for Success Academy’s 72 pre-kindergarteners, insisting that a DOE contract be signed — a contract that would subject the program to all sorts of government bureaucracy. Without the school aid that the city’s other pre-K students get, Success Academy had no other choice but to suspend its pre-K programs. But last Thursday’s legal decision—a New York State appellate court ruled unanimously in Success Academy’s favor—reaffirms that Success Academy has the right to run pre-K independently of the DOE, just like it does for grades K-12.
Last Thursday’s legal decision—a New York State appellate court ruled unanimously in Success Academy’s favor—reaffirms that Success Academy has the right to run pre-K independently of the DOE
The decision is important to me personally because Success Academy has been a lifeline for my family. Both of my sons are English language learners and have special needs. My older son did not have a high-quality pre-K option, and it took him quite a while to catch up to his peers. Now, after a few years at Success, he’s a third grade math whiz who loves learning.
My younger son, however, was lucky enough to attend pre-K at Success Academy Harlem 1. There, outstanding teachers fostered a loving environment and focused on building his character and helping him learn about himself. Success teachers also gave him a strong foundation in math, reading, and writing, and constantly found creative and innovative methods to make learning fun for my son. Without the pre-K experience Success gave him, I’m certain his transition to kindergarten would have been much more challenging.
For many New York City families that just want a good future for their children, Success Academy pre-K is the best option. If the Mayor really wants to represent me, he should encourage Success Academy to open even more pre-K sites, rather than try to bully them into closing down.
I realize the fight might not be over just yet. It’s possible that there might be an appeal, dragging the legal process out even further. But for the sake of our city’s children, I hope this is all resolved soon and that Success Academy can once again offer world-class pre-K.