The lawsuit makes a number of allegations that have popped up against Success and other charter networks before: that they have threatened parents with child welfare investigations, held students back from advancing to the next grade level for disciplinary reasons, and generally use harsh discipline practices that have a disproportionate effect on students with disabilities.
Success Academy has been repeatedly sued for abusing its students and violating their rights, as well as calling ACS on parents who complain; here are just some of the previous and ongoing lawsuits against this chain of charter schools.
Yet in its wisdom, the US Department of Education just awarded this serial violator of civil rights ten million dollars to add to the $43.4 million they had already given the Success chain.
In addition, Tufts has announced they will provide Eva Moskowitz an honorary degree, the head of Success Academy and a defendant in these lawsuits. The former president of Tufts, Lawrence Bacow, who is the current president of Harvard is scheduled to speak at the Success high school's graduation, which last year only graduated 16 out of the 73 students who entered the school in Kindergarten or first grade. No doubt both occurrences were influenced by the fact that the head of the Success board, hedge funder Steve Galbreath, is also on the Tufts board of trustees and heads its investment committee.
The chaotic and abusive treatment suffered by her high school students and which caused most of the teaching staff to quit in disgust last year was extensively chronicled, including by this radio podcast.
Meanwhile, at the end of February NYSED also sustained a complaint filed by Advocates for Children against Success for violating the due process rights of special needs students and failing to provide them with their mandated services; NYSED confirmed that NYC DOE had also done a lousy job in ensuring Success complied with the law.
The State Education Department ordered Success Academy by March 29 to take the following steps, among others: to submit a list of students with disabilities whose mandated Individual Education Programs are not being implemented, evidence that Success has informed the DoE's Committee for Special Education that they have not implemented those IEPs, what actions they've taken as a result to address this failure, and who is responsible at Success for monitoring their implementation.
In addition, the DOE was ordered to implement a variety of "procedural safeguards" to ensure that parents and students are provided with their rights. The full NYSED decision and consent decree is below.