The Death of Success Academy Charter Schools – Why 2016 Was Pivotal

January 1, 2020

With a few tears, the last Success Academy school (SA) closed its remaining campus today. The “SA Trump Institute,” which was formed after the stunning defeat of Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, was seen as a last ditch effort to revive the struggling charter school brand after numerous setbacks, including the loss of much of its ancillary funding, the opening up of the job market for English majors, and the rejection by parents and students alike for a curriculum that relied on test scores instead of cognitive development and character building.  The untimely retirement of its founder and CEO, Eva Moskowitz, as well as the indictment and incarceration of poster boy, Andrew Cuomo, did nothing to enhance the brand.

Screenshot 2016-01-11 11.59.08

It is widely agreed that the first blow to SA, and the charter school movement as a whole, came with the election of President Bernie Sanders in 2016 and the ensuing 2018 mid-terms which led to the “Sanders’ Minions” taking control of both the House and Senate. With the victory of his “Progressive Power Party,” Sanders undertook economic initiatives which ultimately drained the seemingly endless supply of charter school cash.

Sanders victory led to the “Great Economic Restructuring Act” of 2019, when Janet Yellen was replaced by Ralph Nader as Head of the Federal Reserve. Nader’s first move was to change his title to “Head of Economic Fairness,” and initiated a set of tax reforms which led to the demise of hedge funds, which had been an important source of financial support for SA.  In response, SA founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz was forced to sell off the company’s cappuccino machines and lay off hundreds of teachers whose only educational experience was training baristas at the now-defunct Starbucks coffee chain.

Another blow to SA was the influence of President Sanders’ grandchildren, who exhorted young people to “go beyond cool, teach in a real school!” Heeding their call, throngs of college graduates turned their backs on Teach For America, depriving SA of “fresh meat” to staff its classrooms. When this low-cost source of labor dried up, SA founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz was forced to recruit gullible young technical school graduates from Eastern Europe who were housed in floating dormitories on the East River and prepped for classes with a 3 week intensive English grammar course which focused solely on proper use of the imperative form.

Meanwhile, SA parents grew restless when it was revealed that their children, so focused on preparing for standardized tests, were unable to answer simple questions until they were put into “multiple choice” formats. Reports of parents spending thousands of dollars on “spontaneity institutes,” where their children learned such essential skills as “free thought” and “speaking truth to power,” served to tarnish SA’s luster even further.

The final blow to the SA “mystique” came when it was revealed that SA University, a for-profit secondary institution set up specifically to admit SA graduates who were unprepared for advanced academic study, was using their students to sew backpacks and school uniforms for SA elementary schools, while awarding academic degrees in such majors as Statistics Manipulation, Political Showmanship and Greed Development.

Opening in place of the former SA Trump Institute will be the Michelle Obama School for Nutritional Sciences. Eva Moskowitz, who handed over the reins of SA after a massive e. coli outbreak at Success Academy’s Fast Food Conservatory in 2018, was unavailable for comment. Her patron, the former Governor Andrew Cuomo, now serving time for educational fraud at the newly-opened Alcatraz Federal Prison for Mendacious Political Operatives, refused a request for an interview.

About rmberkman

This blog is the sole musings of one Robert M. Berkman, an educator who has taught math, science and technology for the past 30 years in New York. You can react to all his posts by emailing him at
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One Response to The Death of Success Academy Charter Schools – Why 2016 Was Pivotal

  1. Pingback: The Death of Corporate Reform, as Predicted by Robert Berkman | Diane Ravitch's blog

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