Student achievement matters most

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Last Thursday, the New York Times published an article on a charter in the Bronx, Eagle Academy for Young Men, one of five Eagle Academy schools in the New York City area. Here's the good news: Last year, the Eagle Academy for Young Men sent 86% of its graduating class of low-income, African-American boys to college. 

Here's the bad news: According to David C. Banks, president of the foundation backing the Eagle Academies, the school struggles to attract private funders.  

What's wrong with the Academy?  Apparently the fact that its teachers are unionized. In Banks' words,  "I've had people say to me, straight up, 'We're not just funding a school, we're funding a philosophy, and that philosophy is anti-union.' "

That's wrongheaded.

There may not be a lot of good models out there of charters that mesh unionized teachers and great academic performance, but it's a win-win for teachers and students when that happens. 

And we note that Eagle Academy is not the only unionized charter school experiencing success. The unionized L.A. based Green Dot Schools, founded in 1999, have received honors from Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. 

Green Dot - now serving over 10,000 students in the L.A. area - has notably improved graduation and college admission rates at a few of the worst high schools in California.

                                              Green Dot Schools' Growth Since 2000

Green Dot Schools' Growth Since 2000

So an appeal to charter school funders:  Please keep your eyes on the prize, namely supporting schools that deliver on improved student performance.  Unionized or not.