Educated in public schools in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem, Eva Moskowitz learned firsthand the impact of education on an individual. From her youth, she began to feel a calling toward ensuring that all children could access quality educational opportunity. Her quest began in politics and later turned her to creating the wildly successful Success Academies charter school network.
Childhood Educational Inequality
As a child, Eva Moskowitz went to what she described as a “pretty bad district school” in Harlem. The school was not able to effectively teach Ms. Moskowitz how to read; however, her parents were able to step in and make up for the inefficiencies of the school. Unfortunately, for her peers, many other students lacked parents with the same educational ability and time. She quickly learned that this created two different educational paths. One path, allowed students to excel at school, avoid trouble, and go on to have fulfilling lives. While students on the other path would have a harder time because as they fell further and further behind they’d come to loathe school further alienating themselves from the opportunities education brings.
Attempting to Fix Education from Within
Long before Eva Moskowitz had the idea to start the first Success Academy, she began a career in the New York City political arena to shed light on the plight of children and their families stuck in the system of failing schools. Her career started as a member of city council and with time she became the chairperson of the education committee. As Chairperson, she held over 125 different hearings to address fixing the school system. However, she found that it became very difficult to make a change from the status quo. She had to look for another way to help not only her own children, but all the children of New York City.
Taking an Alternate Approach
Eva Moskowitz soon learned that if she wanted to see results and quickly, she needed to find a way to get students learning outside of the public educational system. However, she still wanted to make it possible for students of all socio-economic backgrounds to have their shot at a quality education. Based upon these two goals, she started her first charter in 2006 in Harlem. That first school had 165 students. With multiple educational triumphs from her first school, Eva Moskowitz grew that first Success Academy from one campus to 34 different campuses within the New York City area. These 34 different campuses serve over 11,000 children, giving children access to attaining high educational goals without regard to their financial or geographical means.