New York City charter network Success Academy has barely been open a week this school year, but some students are already learning valuable lessons about nepotism and organizational dysfunction.
According to multiple reports, enrollees of a Manhattan branch of the city's controversial charter network were surprised to find their AP Economics class taught by the son of Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, Culver Grannis Moskowitz.
The younger Moskowitz does not have a college degree, and recently transferred to Columbia University, after two semesters at Haverford College and a gap year. He is the only of Eva Moskowitz's three children who did not go to a Success Academy high school, instead attending the posh Avenues World School in Chelsea, where he apparently ran for class president and recorded some educational raps:
He likely did not take A.P. Economics, as the private high school does not appear to offer it as part of their upper level curriculum (A spokesperson for Avenues did not immediately respond to a request for comment).
“Isn’t AP supposed to be college-level material?” one frustrated parent asked Chalkbeat, which first reported the news. “If he hasn’t graduated college, how is he teaching college-level material?”
Ann Powell, a spokesperson for Success Academy, said that the CEO's son worked as an intern for Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts-Manhattan over the summer, and "ended up filling in for an economics teacher who quit, and whose replacement is due to start [next] Tuesday." Of the 67 teachers who worked at the Manhattan charter school last year, only 18 are returning this year, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The controversial charter network has earned a reputation in recent years for its exacting work environment and high turnover among employees. At some schools, annual teacher turnover rates frequently exceed 50 percent—nearly three times the average at district schools. Earlier this year, both the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer quietly left the company, fueling uncertainty among staff.
"Generally, there's been low morale lately because of how much turnover there's been," one employee told Gothamist. "A lot of things are being put on hold. A lot of teams are short staffed."
Moskowitz is no longer teaching the economics class, the spokesperson said, and is set to begin orientation at Columbia this week. He will continue working as an intern at Success Academy through the semester.