Attention Capital Prep parents, former parents, former students, teachers, former teachers and concerned citizens

As the stories pour in from people who have experienced Steve Perry and Capital Prep’s “no excuses” approach to “education,” it has become increasingly clear that administrative and legal steps are needed to protect children and hold people accountable for their actions.

Capital Prep parents, former parents, former students, teachers and former teachers have reported serious violations of federal and state laws, regulations and policies.

Specific concerns have been raised about Capital Prep’s failures when it comes to the following issues;

  • Failure to provide special education services
  • Failure to prevent bullying and provide a safe, healthy school climate
  • Excessive discipline that can easily be defined as child abuse
  • Pushing, out-migrating or counseling out students who have discipline issues or require special education services or are not likely to be accepted to a four year college
  • Requiring teachers to teach outside of their certification
  • Failure to achieve their purported 100% college attendance claim
  • Telling parents to lie on student demographic forms to allow Capital Prep to achieve its Sheff diversity goals
  • Failure to follow advertised school lottery policy.

A group of individuals are coming together to explore appropriate administrative and legal action.

If you have information to share about the violations at Capital Prep, please contact me at [email protected] or [email protected].

All information provided will be assumed to be completely confidentially unless you agree otherwise.   Also please note in your communication if you’d be willing to sign a legal affidavit about the issues you report.

Thank you very much for helping us to develop the information necessary to take action on these issues.

  • concerned parent

    Very good!

  • Gobsmacked133

    Wow, this is so over due. I have good information for you. As someone run out of Hartford after Adamowski’s hiring/promotion of certain folks on his interview committee, I would need to think about the affidavit thing. As you probably know, corrupt individuals are kept and promoted while others forced to sign on the dotted line with no warning. Although the shame I once felt is slowly dissipating when I hear so many similar tales of dismissal. Anyhow, yes, I do have testimony of Perry’s obvious disregard, disrespect, and disdain for students with special education needs.

    • Mary Gallucci

      I hope you get justice in the near future.

    • brutus2011

      New Haven Public School administrators do the very same thing–as do Bridgeport, Waterbury, etc, etc.

      This “higher-up bullying” is pandemic to the education system in most locales and nation-wide.

      The astonishing thing is that teachers take the abuse year after year.

  • Fed Up in Hartford

    Also, parents need to question their children about kids’ own encounters, observations, and interactions with Perry at school. Also, be sure to ask kids whether they were told by their teachers to leave BLANK any questions on the CMT that they weren’t really sure of — and to ask about any other kinds of testing irregularities, like being helped by teachers while filling in bubbles. The fear with which Perry rules Capital Prep might have spilled over into intimidating teachers into collusion on test cheating. We know it happens in other Hartford schools (and not just at Betances Elem)!

  • Vinny S

    Jon! The firestorm for these swindling frauds has just begun. They have burned so many good people and I hope they all come back to speak the truth and expose the corruption in hps!

    • brutus2011

      Folks, it is not just Hartford and Bridgeport….

      It is like this all over to varying degrees…

      It is also another reason the vultures are swooping in …

      the pickings are easy!

      Wake up!

  • speaking up

    Thank you for providing a forum where truths can be told.

    I’d stayed silent because I’d learned that I was alone and not going to be heard. I’d learned that speaking up took lots of energy and caused lots of stress. I’m tough; I’m game for anything anyone wants to bring, but I’m new at the whole parenting-thing and, especially after our experiences at CP, I’m uber-protective of my child.

    My child continues to be affected by our experience(s) at CP.
    Thank you for allowing me to make a shift in the way that this will be affecting us from now on. I haven’t told my child anything yet, but I am looking at things differently in the past week and your site has allowed for this to happen.

    This past week I learned that other kids were bullied and that nothing happened when they spoke up, either. Sad as it sounds, this was good news. At least CP teachers who left or were made to leave could look around them and see that they were not alone – that this wasn’t about them (or their children) being weird or different. Your site made the difference that having been heard – by AnYoNe at any time – in the city, state or regional offices could have made for my child and our family 2 years ago.

    Perry lured suburban families in to CP by partnering with Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth (CTY) programming, but CP had no idea how to administer this programming.
    I don’t see any mention of Johns Hopkins (JHU) on CPs website today.
    I know that Perry was displeased with the amount of $ that he had to pay JHU. I’m betting that he used this program to get Sheff #s for his lower school because it never could have happened in grades 8-12- and then he dropped it when he’d “achieved” these numbers.

    I’m betting that there are other families who pulled their children out of their suburban neighborhood schools (with all of their neighborhood friends) because they were promised gifted/talented curricula. It never happened. CP doesn’t have a general curriculum, much less ANYTHING for g/t.

    My child is doing well today and will be doing even better tomorrow. Your site and your efforts have given me a much-needed opportunity to stand back and reassess. Doing well is good; I am grateful that we found the school that my child is attending now when we did.

    Your site and your efforts have me realizing today that the good administrators, teachers and people in this school are not the exception; the nightmare situation at CP is.
    Your site and your efforts have me realizing today that doing well is good and doing even better is better.
    Your site and your efforts have me realizing today that speaking up will help my child and very well may help others, as well.

    Thank you, Jon.
    You’ve made a big difference in a little kid’s life.

    I am grateful.

    • JMC

      Your voice, SU, is compelling, eloquent, and urgent and must be heard!

  • Linda174

    Lecker: student choice or extortion?

    In the face of the strong opposition from parents, the mayoral-controlled majority of the school board backed down.

    The same scene recurred about a week later. This time the Hartford BOE was presented with a plan to hand the SAND elementary school over to Steve Perry’s new private management company. Perry currently heads Hartford’s Capital Prep Magnet School. Kishimoto and Pryor tried to shift both SAND and Capital Prep to Perry’s company.

    At Capital Prep, 6.3 percent of the students have disabilities, 3.4 percent of the students are English Language Learners, and 51.4 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Mr. Perry bills Capital Prep as a “no excuses” school. The school has a high attrition rate for teachers and students; and allegations of bullying abound.

    Mr. Perry has been absent for almost 20 percent of the year so far, traveling and giving speeches. In one speech, he claimed that public schools are “over-feminized.”

    In SAND school, 14.9 percent of the children have disabilities, 21.4 percent are English Language Learners, and more than 95 percent of the children are eligible for free-or-reduced-priced lunch.

    Parents came out to contest the “hostile takeover” of their school. One student claimed that “Capital Prep does not understand the (SAND) students” and feared that Capital Prep would “kick (neighborhood kids) out.” Another remarked that “We know these teachers and they know us.” He continued,” If you want kids at SAND to learn better, give kids the same support you do at fancy schools like Capital Prep. If I had 15 kids in my classroom and two teachers, I would learn better too.”

    The school board backed down again.

    • Mary Gallucci

      A great column. Adamowski is busy serving up his school choice nonsense to Windham parents, and probably New London, too.

    • Ed

      Response from Arthur

      Ms. Lecker, putting the name of extortion on what has been happening in Hartford and wherever school reform profiteers gouge public schools is quite helpful as it conveys that the behavior is not only deceptive, harmful, but illegal.

      For those, like myself, who would benefit from a review of extortion, The Free Dictionary explains: “The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

      Under the Common Law, extortion is a misdemeanor consisting of an unlawful taking of money by a government officer. It is an oppressive misuse of the power with which the law clothes a public officer.Most jurisdictions have statutes governing extortion that broaden the common-law definition. Under such statutes, any person who takes money or property from another by means of illegal compulsion may be guilty of the offense.”

      The frantic “antics” displayed most recently by those seeking to turn public schools in Hartford into almost any other model suggest how dire are the actions of those trying to fool and “fleece” the public. Clearly moving in such haste while changing their minds demonstrates little regard for the value of the final product. How fortunate that they were able to excavate the Lighthouse paradigm that could be pushed through to a vote, thereby thwarting any public input into neighborhood schools.

  • educationmatters

    Given the environment, keep in mind that current teachers may be reticent to be part of the process. With retaliation, a horrid environment, and bullying going on, unless teachers come forward together the administration can isolate and intimidate or fire them. Even if they are offered the option of resigning that means they now have no income and bills to pay. If they are terminated, they will have to list that on their employment applications for any other position going forward, which can be devastating in a market where each job attracts hundreds of applications and boards of education are looking to eliminate applicants to get it to a reasonable number to interview. Teachers are caught between the proverbial rock and hard place and only if they stand in unity with the union will they have any protection. This shouldn’t dissuade any from participating in the discussion and planning, but it’s a realistic problem when it comes to active participation.

    • AllStudentsMatter

      EducationMatters – Your comments are quite perplexing indeed and actually contradictory in substance.

      Further, you’ve seem to misstate Mr. Pelto’s call to action by embedding a wholly different tactic with both non-subtle and seemingly innocent, yet subliminal messages of fear to would be agents of change.

      As a child advocate, I have been reading this blog and comments with great interest. It’s taken me some time to read all the comments, especially those who consistently post. Those who stand against corporate education reform are quite clear.

      My friend is a teacher who often sends me articles related to children and the war on public education. I first read about the Seattle teachers boycott of the MAP test last year. It took courage and they were a small, small group.

      They strategized with intelligence, called the press in and stood together. They made national news and set a precedence. Now other teachers are following in their footsteps. The Seattle BoE knew they eyes of the world were on them. They had to act judiciously and they did.

      Here’s my concern with your comments EducationMatters, despite seemingly against Capital Prep’s model of education.

      There is clearly a war of words and between the pro vs anti Capital Prep commenters and emotions run high. Mr. Pelto has hit a nerve to say the least given the sheer number of comments and hits to this blog.

      Your comments stand out from the other Capital Prep critics in several ways: a) the major contradictions remind me of Plato’s Euthydemus dialogue, which satirizes what Plato presents as the logical fallacies of the Sophists. and b) your statements of “facts” fall 100% into the “Name Calling” (barely ad hominem) categories in Paul Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement (the worst type of argument).

      On another blog post, you HEAVILY criticize the union, with outright allegations of impropriety. Above, you now are saying the teachers at Capital Prep should align themselves with this same “alleged”, non-existent union which has close ties to Perry, as their ONLY means of protection? What message are you attempting to send the teachers of Capital Prep? It is surely not positive and combined with the totally opposing prior comments, make me wonder the motive behind your statements.

      You made those anti union allegations just days ago in another comment. The above statement is pure doublespeak and demonstrates total lack of understanding of Mr. Pelto’s promises of anonymity and intended administrative and legal action. His call is serious and apparently well thought out with others. This is not a call to stand in front of Capital Prep with mere posters.

      It is more than evident Mr. Pelto’s strategies have built in legal recourse and he (and I imagine others) have fully contemplated the many variables affecting this situation. In moving forward to address the current situation at Capital Prep, I am sure Mr. Pelto is more than aware of the teachers’, students’, and parents’ predicament which is the whole point of this call to action!

      I have full faith, given his years in the CT State Legislature and strategic acumen as an advocate, he is fully cognizant of current teachers’ plight. It appears many have still opted to step forward. Good for them!

      In researching Mr. Pelto’s background and experience, he is a strong and highly experienced advocate. His intent on behalf of teachers and students around the state of CT is genuine. His track record speaks for itself. Personally, if I wanted to make a change in education to take back the reigns of public education and into the hands of local constituents, parents, students, and teachers amid this corporate take over reform movement, I’d align myself with Mr. Pelto’s camp in a heartbeat.

      Upon reading the string of your comments, I do questions -what is your agenda regarding Capital Prep.

      You excoriate C Prep with great voracity in all your posts, yet now plant seeds of fear in those who are contemplating coming forward to bring about change and do so with what may easily be deemed paraconsistent logic: AKA – You deal with contradictions in a discriminating way (i.e, Oh teachers, be sure to stand united with the “Perry loving” union for full protection (paraphrased from you prior post), which is NOT what Mr. Pelto offers as protection or even mentions once.

      Do you really believe the strategies to keep people subjugated or scared from speaking out are unknown by these readers? Such stratagems are thousands of years old by any powers that be, past or present (and future). These readers are far from unintelligent so I wonder why you would attempt to dissuade them despite your disclaimer.

      Your last sentence as I read it, is a very weak disclaimer at best – a dim spark of encouragement after implanting visions of future doom.

      I’m sure the Seattle teachers are glad you weren’t a part of their boycott and I wonder if you would have joined them or attempted to sway them from speaking out. They were far more successful than anyone imagined, gaining national attention, and starting a movement in others states now regarding standardized testing.

      From the news, Hartford parents and the community reversed what seemed like a done deal for Dr. Perry. Being reduced to handing out flyers, demanding the “lighthouse” school SAND and the “3 million”, was a poorly executed, almost sad maneuver. Never underestimate the minority in any cause.

      You do seem to hate C Prep vehemently, given your comments, so I’d think you’d be the first in line fighting this battle – not scaring others under the guise of “misanthropic concern” for others.

      Your pragmatic (aka sublime albeit negative) view on Mr. Pelto’s planning and organizing for change flies in the face of your extreme allegations against C Prep.

      Sorry, as a jury member listening to the pro/anti Capital Prep arguments, your message of “Hey, in case you want to bring about change at Capital Prep or the city of Hartford, just let me paint a future of unemployment and career devastation” vs “I, as a Capital Prep teacher, do testify Capital Prep is the Gulag of educational institutions” – just like your totally opposing views of the union totally fall flat. I might even be taken to whispering to a jury mate “What the fudge is person talking about?”

      Contradiction is a HUGE red flag. Readers should go back and check for themselves.

      It’s a no brainer that an organized movement would commence. I stand with and behind anyone who wishes to bring out truth and justice. I stand with and behind those who give a voice to those who might not otherwise have a voice. Do not let this person who on one hand viciously attacks Capital Prep in minutia on every level and then ever so subtly, under the guise of being pragmatic, plays up the fear factor of coming forward.

      It is not easy to come forward but it is a MUST. Bravery is not lack of fear but FACING your fears head on. It is not easy to speak out but together you seem to be a very large number based on comments. This is not relegated to Hartford or CT for that matter!! This is a national issue and many parents, teachers, and students coast to coast want their schools back!

      Our country is facing many issues in which corporate oligarchy seek to destroy and take over power and control, infringing upon our civil rights, freedoms, and liberties guaranteed to us as American citizens.

      Education and your children are prime targets. Act now or forever hold your peace. Many of you have waited for others to speak when the corporate take over began – clearly a poor choice. Many of you believed elected officials would represent your interests – poor belief. Many of you believe you cannot make a difference – DEAD WRONG!

      Get off your bottoms and not for your own sake (though the movement is directed at all adults too and yes, you individually) but for EVERY child you claimed caused you to choose education as a profession. Parents, grandparents you are not exempt. I do not consider myself exempt as a child advocate. I will stand with you.

      Now is not the time to look the other way or fall to complacency. You clearly are not alone. I’ve been studying this for a while and along with other corporate takeovers (media, prisons….) and many in this country are outraged. Congress shuts downs while still collecting pay all the while sending how many furloughed workers home with no pay and uncertainty??? Ordinary people – you and myself, want and are DEMANDING change but often we have no leader.

      There is clearly a leader! And Mr. Pelto has a plan and a solid track record. Be grateful and GO! GO! GO! Now! The chance to make a move is here and this is your chance. It’s my chance too. This affects me too as a parent and I have been waiting for likeminded people who want to make a change.

      • Mary Gallucci

        Yes, all students matter. But some people say this cynically, in order to promote charters and privatization–like Michelle Rhee and “Students First.” It is true that some posters on the blog noted that someone in the union leadership seemed to have social ties to Perry–but that does not necessarily mean the entire union is corrupt or that all unions are corrupt. Unions exist for excellent reasons–there really is no alternative at this point in time. Without the professional standards that unions uphold, there would be all kinds of unqualified people in the classroom–TFA writ large. The top union management, like Randi Weingarten, is very problematic, but that does not invalidate unions.

        I am not sure what you are getting at, but many people have suffered at the hands of school reformers–and schools and communities have been torn apart. It will be very hard to repair the damage–but exposing the trumped-up claims of Perry, who really is in it for the big bucks (he should not be allowed to have a charter school company while an employee of the Hartford public schools; then again, Stefan Pryor should not be commissioner of ed when he is clearly a charter school proponent and founder, and has no experience as an educator).
        Make YOUR point and speak truth to power, Allstudentsmatter–do you have some bone to pick with the union? It would be helpful to know.

        • AllStudentsMatter

          Mary – I know that!! I am in the HFT union, not just as a member and I am privy to things first hand which you are not. I have knowledge and facts you do not. When the time comes, I can back my claims with evidence.

          I am trying to protect Jon and this movement. That post from EducationMatters is a scare tactic because so few trust in the HFT Mary. It is no secret to those of us in the HFT and among the top, that the C Prep teachers have little to no faith in the HTF’s ability to protect them! The HFT has reached out and the majority of teachers at C Prep will NOT accept help. As one leader said, it is like Stockholm Syndrome. It’s been a long time running problem for years Mary.

          So when advised to stand with the union, that commenter is underhandedly saying in the most sublime manner, “you’re all screwed – you don’t have protection. You’ll be fired or forced to resign. Your only hope is to align with the union whom you all know has abandoned C Prep teachers.” No the union has not abandoned them but that has been the mindset of C Prep teachers for many years due to the hight turnover rate and due to the hostile work conditions.

          The comment was meant as reverse psychology to prevent people from coming forward and I am calling it out. I am calling the commenter out. Despite the many anti-C Prep comments, there is much more beneath the surface than any of you realize but you wouldn’t. Have you not heard keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer. This is what we have here Mary. But none of you would ever know that. So my comment seem counterintuitive to you but not to EducationMatters.

          The post from several days ago heavily criticizing the union for being MIA at C Prep and having ties to Perry is how EducationMatters really feels. Anger and fear are being projected to would be teachers thinking of coming forward.

          The commenter is sending a very distinct message which would indeed scare C Prep teachers in keeping the status quo. The comment ends but of course that should not dissuade anyone – too late given the scenarios worded so very, very carefully. You’re going to have to trust me on this one. The comment is NOT meant to help Jon’s call for teachers to come forward.

          So few can see the forest from the trees unless you’ve been navigating the paths of the forest for many years. I’ve can now navigate the forest blindfolded.

          I am a roach, a racist, and a thug according to Perry. I am proud to be HFT union. I’ve had numerous conversations with Andrea Johnson and other Building Reps for quite some time on how to reach the C Prep teachers. They’ve been isolated and EducationMatters is all too happy to remind them of this fact. Don’t let the anti-C Prep comments fool you.

        • realityed

          Um, not sure if you are a member of the Capital Prep staff, but let me ask you these questions:

          1. Why would Capital Prep teachers reach out to the union that spent dues money to buy shirts to fight Capital teachers helping their SAND neighbor?

          2. Why would Capital Prep teachers reach out to the union that spends their dues on support for people like Pelto who demonizes the school they work hard for?

          3. Why is the union never there when Capital Prep teachers reach out for help with issues like salary?

        • Mary Gallucci

          There is definitely a huge problem when no one knows whom to trust, when teacher suspects teacher and student fears student. I think this is an indictment of Steve Perry and the whole ed reform privatizing movement. Capital Prep incorporated clearly has its own agenda–you may think you are supporting “your” school, but you are just bankrolling Steven Perry and other charter school management organizations, like Michael Sharpe of Jumoke/FUSE and Stefan Pryor and his Achievement First franchise.
          The union should not help Perry sell his new brand of union-busting charter/magnet school model.
          Pelto is demonizing what, exactly? An edu-fraud like Perry?

        • Linda174


        • Linda174

          Pelto doesn’t demonize the school, he is holding the light up to the demon, Perry. Perry is NOT the school. Perry is pretending to be the “leader” while promoting himself. Don’t be fooled. PPP- perry promotes perry.

        • AllStudentsMatter

          Where on earth did you get such preposterous information?

          Question 2 makes no sense. Union dues bought teachers t-shirts and support for Pelto who demonizes the school? Okay. Your own staff has come out quite strong on this blog and they are not painting a pretty picture – now that we were unaware. Teachers from C Prep have come and then backed down. The union cannot say who comes forward or who approaches and then has a change of heart. If someone does have a change of heart, there is nothing the union can do. It’s that simple.

          Geez… you just outed yourself as C Prep teacher who is a Perry supporter. We’ve heard that silly t-shirt accusation before. I believe we were also called “old teachers” too. Can’t you do better than that?

          The union does not fight teachers. Haven’t seen a tweet telling all union members and officers to “strap” yet. No Building Rep memos have been sent out to that effect either.

          The union requested the HBOE act in legal compliance regarding SAND school (as did the SAND school community loud and clear) and that night it did the right thing – it listened to what the community wanted and not Steve Perry & company.

          SAND is not a “neighbor” of C Prep nor a friend. If you construe our stance that night as fighting C Prep teachers – that is your ill gotten conclusion. But you clearly did not understand my comment so no explanations are needed now.

          Payroll is accountable for teacher salaries. I’m not sure what you are alluding to but has payroll answered your questions? Why wouldn’t you take up such issues with HR and payroll if there are pay problems? They are the ones to answer that question. Why would there even be problems with your pay?
          However, the union doesn’t oversee your checks – the HPS payroll department does.

          I have not heard of global payroll issues from other Hartford school so if that is an issue, it would be unique to C Prep, alone. You make it sound as though many teacher salaries are affected.

          I think that is a more interesting issue! Certainly more interesting than a few t-shirts. Are you being underpaid? In what way and by how much? Is this pay issue limited to teachers or is your administration also having pay issues?

          I am not at C Prep because there is nothing wrong with my paycheck. And the union never bought me a t-shirt either! I didn’t get a t-shirt and I was in attendance at both the Clark and SAND meetings. I was in the room with the Clark teachers and parents and the strong emotions moved people to tears. I do not need a t-shirt to say I am anti-corporate ed reform! Your union dues bought me nothing. By the way, I pay union due too.

          However, now that I know who you are – I’m smarter than to get dragged into a war of words with you.

          My advice – call payroll first thing tomorrow and do post the answer you receive. I say this in all seriousness.

          If you do not get a satisfactory resolution, will you still blame the union? I really don’t know about the payroll issue but maybe you should ask those who founded the school how the pay was to be determined because I do know you work an extended year.

          The rest of us get paid accordingly straight from HPS payroll. Who says the error is the union’s fault?

        • Mary Gallucci

          Okay, sorry if I misconstrued your comment.
          The point is, I have always assumed that the union, especially those “on the ground”, the building reps, etc, are very much on the side of the teachers. More power to you if that is the case!

        • AllStudentsMatter

          I can only speak for myself as a long time union member. The union is far from perfect and has changed in the face of hedge funded corporate reform. The NEA and AFT both have softened their stance on various issues. Both have remained quiet at the wrong times. Personally, I have a preference for Albert Shanker.

          I am pro-teacher, pro-child, and pro-public education. I am anti-corporate education reform. On the ground I do fight for teachers, parents, students, and communities.

          I’ve often fought alone though. A close colleague saw the corporate train coming well ahead of time and we had many discussions over the years. She was laughed at by colleagues, minus one – me. We still talk about it.

          I’ve taken on administration on behalf of students. I’ve informed parents of their rights. I don’t lie or cover for others. I don’t look the other way or pretend not to see wrongdoing. It’s been lonely over the years.

          I’ve also called out teachers who didn’t care. Guess what – some don’t. Most do care and are very hard working, Others need to leave the profession. My 1st year many, many years ago, I took on a veteran teacher, who said one of her students was “too dumb to give paw”. I said, “You’re too ignorant to give lessons. I’ll be happy to meet your replacement”. I reported the teacher who made racist comments about my students of color. I won’t be categorized by my union status nor do I judge other by such membership either.

          If you want to label me – label me an advocate of children.

          If I was going to get a t-shirt, it would probably say, “Proud to be unpopular”. Everyone loves to voice discontent from the safety of the staff room or closed classroom doors. Everyone loves to complain until the wrong person approaches and then the voices get hushed. Meanwhile, I’ll say it right out loud.

          No t-shirt or soap box required.

  • Concerned Parent

    The Capital Prep parents say THANK YOU for hearing us!! We appreciate all of this support for OUR children!! “Our voices are louder than Perry’s tweets” !!!!!!!