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Paulson Family Foundation Pledges $8.5 Million To Create High-quality Public Schools For New York City Children

Contact: Ann Powell, 646-894-6407 [email protected] Success Academy Charter Schools today announced a $8.5 million gift from Jenny and John Paulson and the Paulson Family Foundation to fund the opening of new public charter schools – elementary, middle and high schools – in New York City. John Paulson is founder and president of the investment firm Paulson & Co. Success Academy is the largest and highest-performing charter school network in New York, with (as of August) 34 schools serving 11,000 children from pre-k through high school. The Paulsons’ gift is one of the largest that Success Academy has received, and over time, will impact thousands of the city’s children. This year, Success Academy received more than 22,000 applications for fewer than 2,300 available seats. Many of the 19,000 families on the wait list have no choice but to send their child to a failing neighborhood school – with little hope of gaining the exit from poverty that education provides. “The best way to reduce poverty long term is to improve the quality of public school education. Success Academy’s proven record in improving the quality of education for our neediest children has been extraordinary. We need to allocate more public and private resources to Success Academy so more deserving children who want to attend Success Academy can do so. There is no better investment we can make than in the education of our children,” says Paulson, who grew up in Queens and attended the city’s public schools. “Jenny and I are proud to contribute to Success Academy, which is truly working for children.” “Every classroom we visited was filled with enthusiasm,” says Jenny Paulson. “I am so impressed by the teachers and principals — and the scholars. They share a mutual passion for learning and discovery.” Located in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, Success Academy schools consistently outperform schools in the city and state’s most affluent neighborhoods – ranking in the top 1% in math and the top 3% in reading across the state, based on last year’s proficiency exams. Funding from the Paulsons will support the opening of new middle schools in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan. “John and Jenny’s extraordinary generosity ensures that thousands of New York City’s least privileged children will receive a world-class education,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “We are deeply grateful for their support, allowing us to open more high-caliber schools and close the opportunity gap that has trapped hundreds of thousands of this city’s families in poverty.” “The Paulsons believe deeply in the power of education to transform lives and solve the world’s most challenging problems,” said Moskowitz. “Success Academy is built on that same belief, and we are honored to be among the beneficiaries of their support. Founded in 2006, with a single school in Harlem, Success Academy is a free public charter school network with the dual mission of building world­class schools across New York City and advancing education reform across the country. Admitted by random lottery, the majority of students are from low-income and minority families, many of whom cannot afford to live in areas with better schools: 76% of students receive subsidized lunch; 8.5% have been identified as English Language Learners, and 12% are special needs students. About 85% of students are children of color. Since 2009, the first year they were old enough to take state proficiency exams, Success Academy scholars have consistently scored in the top 10% of all New York State schools. On last year’s state exams, 94% of scholars were proficient in math, and 64% proficient in English language arts. In science, 100% of scholars met state proficiency standards. New York City spends more than $20,000 per pupil — almost double the rate of Los Angeles, the country’s next largest school district. Despite such extraordinary funding, the city’s schools are dramatically failing to educate the majority of students. On last year’s state proficiency exams, only a third of students were able to read or do math at grade level, with children of color from low-income families most affected. In New York City, 91% of all African American and Hispanic students attend a failing school where fewer than half of students are able to pass a proficiency exam. Education in New York State & City The education crisis in New York City disproportionately hurts low-income and minority students. In NYC, 143, 000 students are trapped in failing schools, where only one in ten children can read or do math at grade level or are on track to graduate from high school prepared for college. Of those, 96% are children of color and 93% come from families living in poverty. In NYC, 91% of all African American and Hispanic students attend a failing school where fewer than half of students able to pass a proficiency exam.
  • Just 19% of African American students can do math on grade level, compared to 67% of Asian students.
  • Only 18% of Hispanic students can read on grade level, compared with 49% of white students.
  • There are 90 New York City schools where either every African American student, or every Latino student, failed one of the NY state exams.
  • In NYC, less than 13% of African American students graduate from high school prepared to do college-level work
Across New York State, 800,000 children in grades 3 to 8 — more students than the combined enrollment of all public schools in Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Seattle — were not equipped to pass last year’s state exams. Success Academy Success Academy has a proven track record with helping low-income minority students achieve extraordinary academic results. Since Success students were first old enough to take the state exams, they have never ranked lower than the top 10% of NY state schools in both math and English. And Success Academy has maintained that high standard while continuing to serve ever greater numbers of children.
  • On last year’s state proficiency exams, 94% of students were proficient in math — 69% earned a top score of 4. 64% were proficient in English. This compares to only 35% math proficiency and 29% English proficiency of students in regular public schools. (and that figure includes the highest performing schools)
  • 100% passed the science proficiency exam; 99% of our scholars earned a 4.
  • Four of New York State’s top 10 elementary schools in math—including the #1 and #2—are Success Academies.
  • Success Academy achievements were on par with citywide G&T programs, including The Anderson School and NEST+m.
For more information about Success Academy, go to On Twitter at: @SuccessCharters #InsideSuccess

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