Success stories like this in high-poverty neighborhoods are becoming more common in the era of charter schools, but 223 is no charter. There is no clamoring of parents trying to game a spot for their kids in a lottery, no screening of applicants, no visits from educators hoping to learn the secret of the school’s success, no shadow philanthropist supplying Kindles to all of its students. M.S. 223 is just a regular public school. González isn’t even allowed to see the files of incoming students before they arrive. “You know what you have to do to come to school here?” González told me. “Walk through that door.”