Eva Moskowitz offers a good starting point for discussion of school choice in a Wall Street Journal op-ed describing experience in New York City:
The highest performing charter schools, like Success Academy, have actually reversed the achievement gap. Black and Hispanic students from Central Harlem’s seven Success Academy schools outperform white students across the city by 33 points in math and 21 points in reading; low-income students outperform the city’s affluent students by 38 and 24 points in math and reading respectively.
Of course, those numbers would have to be adjusted somewhat. Picking students from one group in the best schools and comparing them with students from another group across all schools is obviously unfair. But still, Success Academy results explode any argument that students from that area of the city just can’t learn, for whatever reason.
Now note this part:
To justify their arguments, Ms. Weingarten and others propagate the myth that charter-school successes have come at the expense of traditional district schools. But this claim has been disproved again and again. In New York City, for example, a comprehensive study found improved academic performance, safety, and student engagement at district schools with charter schools, particularly high-performing ones, located nearby or in the same building.
This is a winning formula: competition plus the ability of schools to concentrate on the shared challenges specific to the students whose families choose particular environments. We shouldn’t limit our application of that formula to just charter schools, and we certainly shouldn’t keep delaying reform in reaction to the spooky smokescreens self-dealing advocates like union kingpin Randy Weingarten keep throwing up.