Kate Taylor of the New York Times got a rare look inside a Success Academy charter school and reported on a stressful, competitive, joyless environment. The photograph that accompanies the story is worth a thousand–or more–words. Little children, walking in straight lines, not a smile in sight. OOPS! THE TIMES REMOVED THE PHOTOGRAPH THAT WAS POSTED WITH THE ORIGINAL STORY. IT SHOWED TWO ROWS OF CHILDREN IN UNIFORMS, LOOKING DEPRESSED AND GLUM. IN THE WHOLE GROUP, THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE HAPPY FACE. WHEN THE STORY APPEARED IN PRINT, THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS GONE, REPLACED BY CHEERFUL CLASSROOM SCENES.

Its founder, Eva Moskowitz, now has 43 schools in her chain; with Governor Cuomo’s help, she will soon have 100. The goal of her schools is high test scores, and she gets them. Whatever it takes, including humiliating children in front of their peers. That works.  Not every one can deal with the stress. Not even teachers. Teacher turnover is high.

In a rare look inside the network, including visits to several schools and interviews with dozens of current and former employees, The New York Times chronicled a system driven by the relentless pursuit of better results, one that can be exhilarating for teachers and students who keep up with its demands and agonizing for those who do not.

Rules are explicit and expectations precise. Students must sit with hands clasped and eyes following the speaker; reading passages must be neatly annotated with a main idea.

Incentives are offered, such as candy for good behavior, and Nerf guns and basketballs for high scores on practice tests. For those deemed not trying hard enough, there is “effort academy,” which is part detention, part study hall.

For teachers, who are not unionized and usually just out of college, 11-hour days are the norm, and each one is under constant monitoring, by principals who make frequent visits, and by databases that record quiz scores. Teachers who do well can expect quick promotions, with some becoming principals while still in their 20s. Teachers who struggle can expect coaching or, if that does not help, possible demotion.

Nothing matters but test scores on the state test. Two successive cohorts of eighth-grade students have applied for entry to New York City’s selective high schools, like Bronx Science and Stuyvesant, and not one was able to pass the admissions test despite years of test prep.

Jasmine Araujo, 25, who joined Success through the Teach for America program, quit after half a year as a special-education teacher at Success Academy Harlem 3. She now teaches at a charter school in New Orleans. “I would cry almost every night thinking about the way I was treating these kids, and thinking that that’s not the kind of teacher I wanted to be,” Ms. Araujo said.

If test scores matter more to you than anything else, this is the place to send your child.