City charter schools shine in testing

June 24, 2008 4:15:32 PM PDT
There is some very encouraging news for students who attend charter schools in New York City. Test scores released on Tuesday show those students are performing significantly better.

In fact, at one charter school in Harlem, every eighth grader passed the math test.

Most students at Brooklyn's Explore charter school have proven they can master the state's standardized tests.

"Ninety-two percent of them passed the math test and 75 percent of them passed the ELA test," said Marni Greenstein, of Explore Charter School.

Schools chancellor Joel Klein helped unveil figures, which show city charter schools outperformed other public schools in their areas, and in the rest of the state.

"We have managed to grow charters at an unprecedented rate, and grow," said Klein.

Eighty-one per cent of students statewide were proficient in math, but 85 percent of city charter school students scored proficient. Seventy-one percent of students in other public schools in those districts hit that mark.

"The teachers help you with everything you need. If you're struggling on a particular subject, they'll be there," said student Nijee Duncan.

In English, 68 percent of students statewide scored proficient. The percentage of charter students was just one percent lower, while the rate was 54 percent for students in other public schools in districts with charters.

"We have an extended school day and school year, so there's more time on instruction," said Greenstein.

A small number of charter schools have failed and shutdown. Based on the fact that admission is by lottery, the success of those that survive benefits only a handful of New York City's total school population.

However, Chancellor Klein says all schools can benefit.

"We want to learn from each other. What is it that happened at these particular schools?" he explained.

The chancellor and others continue to call on the state to allow more charter schools.

For more on the test scores, visit

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Art McFarland