Hello CT and Hartford officials… Is there anyone who will confront the lawbreakers?

Are there any elected or appointed official in Connecticut who have the courage and conviction to actually ensure the laws of this state are equitably enforced?

Student-athlete recruitment by interdistrict magnet schools such as Capital Prep Magnet Schools is illegal in Connecticut.  (For example, see Sec. 10-220d.of the Connecticut General Statues).

According to the Connecticut State Department of Education, “All eligible applicants are either offered a placement or placed on a waitlist for Regional School Choice schools and programs through a random lottery process.”

Based on state law and state regulations, “The RSCO lottery is the computer-based method that places students who have submitted a complete and on-time application to available RSCO schools and programs. The Connecticut State Department of Education manages the RSCO lottery process.”

By law, the lottery process for magnet schools MUST BE random.

Magnet schools ARE NOT ALLOWED to give any preference to student-athletes.

When reading the following information about Steve Perry Capital Prep Magnet School, ask yourself:

Did Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor, and the State Department of Education, know about these extremely serious allegations of illegal activities related to Capital Prep’s  lottery and student-athlete recruitment techniques.  If they knew, what actions did they take to prevent Capital Prep from engaging in these alleged violations?  If they did not know, how is that possible when complaints were made and full-fledged independent investigations conducted that they did not know?

At the same time, considering Capital Prep Magnet School is owned and operated by the Hartford Board of Education, did Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education, including Mayor Pedro Segarra, know about these extremely serious allegations of illegal activities related to Capital Prep’s  lottery and student-athlete recruitment techniques.  As stated above, if they knew, what actions did they take to prevent Capital Prep from engaging in these alleged violations?  If they did not know, how is that possible when complaints were made and full-fledged independent investigations conducted that they did not know?

The bottom line for Connecticut and Hartford officials is there anyone who will confront the lawbreakers?

Did Capital Prep corrupt School Choice Lottery process to enroll student-athletes?

Last August, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference stepped in to investigate serious allegations of inappropriate even illegal, recruitment of student-athletes by Capital Prep Magnet School.

The CIAC Board of Control authorized an independent investigation and then met to review and act upon the recruitment investigation reports that had been lodged against Capital Preparatory School.

In a letter dated August 23, 2013 the Associate Executive Director of CIAC wrote to Capital Prep Principal Steven Perry on behalf of the CIAC Board of Control.

The letter included the following passages:

“….the Board expressed serious concerns about two issues both of which could be viewed as a form of recruitment.

It appears that student-athletes involved may have been admitted to the school through other than the lottery process and may have been given special preference because they were athletes.

Allowing student-athletes from another school to attend conditioning sessions prior to attend the school is not in the spirit of CIAC rules and gives the appearance that recruitment was taking place.

  • The Board of Control expects that Capital Preparatory School will follow all procedures set forth by the State School Lottery Office for admission for the applicants and no special treatment or preference will be given to any student due to their athletic talent.
  • Additionally, all procedures for “wait list” students be followed and no preference be given to any student-athlete.  Any future complaints regarding the admissions process will necessitate the school producing documents from the State Lottery Office that substantiate all students were properly admitted through the lottery process or wait list procedures.

Furthermore, the Board expects that Capital Preparatory School will inform all coaches, volunteer or otherwise, that students from other schools may not be invited to participate in any conditioning sessions with Capital Preparatory school teams prior to the student officially entering the school.

As agreed….all expenses associated with the investigation will be bourne (sic) by Capital Preparatory School.  Enclosed is an invoice for the expenses related to the investigation…”

This CIAC letter raises many important questions.

Are there any elected or appointed official in Connecticut who have the courage and conviction to actually ensure the laws of this state are equitably enforced?

  • HartfordPirates

    The time for discussion on a blog is over.

    The Connecticut Pirate Party will be hosting a “Take back our education” rally in Hartford that will NOT restrict the individuals right to speak.

    Present will be Robert Beamon (http://hartfordpirates.com/robert-o-beamon/) our candidate for CT State Senator, Second District. He has a vested concern as a Hartford resident with a child who attends Capital Prep.

    Rafael G. is formally invited to consider a run for Hartford City Council as a Pirate.

    Jon Pelto is formally invited to address us on his concerns and thoughts about we, as a community, can do going forward.

    Matt Ritter will be formally invited as our state representative so that he can hear your concerns and accolades (there are some for Hartford, lets not get lost in the negative.)

    A press release will be sent out for coverage of the rally.

    What is needed from you – at least 10 people to email a choice (the Pirate Party is all about involvement) of a Tuesday or Wednesday night to ensure that there will be attendance. A venue will then be secured (Hartford Public Library just for the sheer irony, maybe?) and a formal announcement made on hartfordpirates.com and here.

    Email [email protected] with your evening choice and a commitment to attend.

    • Castles Burning

      Power to the people . . .

    • Rafael G

      I will email you shortly. i do want to say thank you for that. I can say i see what your website states and i m interested but id have to get to know More because as we all know here a website paints a wonderful picture but not is always as it appears but i will hear you out

      • HartfordPirates

        Shoot me an email and we’ll do coffee. I’ll be running for mayor next year so we’ll be a ticket and we should be in sync on some things. Then again, having someone that is opposed to me is a good thing – keeps me on my toes and thinking. 🙂

  • Mary Gallucci

    Wow, Steven Adamowski has brought so much of the privatizing spirit of ed deform to Windham!
    Get this, he partnered with some parents who wanted a flight out of Windham Public Schools (the schools Adamowski was initially making a quarter of a million dollars to “improve” and turnaround) so they came up with a better-than-voucher program to send 10 students per annum to Norwich Free Academy, which is a private school for those outside of its district/original covenant as an Independent school.
    Well, it turns out that NFA wants outstanding sports teams too. So Adamowski endowed himself with the ability to make “special dispensations” and he immediately had Windham pay the tuition of a senior student, whose father had supposedly been paying out of pocket until then… this father is on an appointed Windham board and he seems to think he is some athletic recruiter for NFA (he is one of a slew of assistant coaches there). A few Windham kids had previously ended up at NFA simply by moving to Norwich apartments… but for other parents, this was not an option.

    After the first year of the Windham/NFA special deal, when all the students seemed hand-picked, the second year they announced with great fanfare that they were going to have an actual lottery, since we are now, according to Adamowski, a “choice” and “portfolio” district. However, in order to get a few good athletes onto the girls’ teams at NFA, some students were accepted without being even entered into the lottery!! Thanks to the athletic recruitment of that other board member/parent/recipient of dispensations.
    Those parents who want to continue this relationship with NFA are overly confident that their precious students will automatically get in–it must be because they know how to avoid the uncertainty of a lottery. Rumors are rampant and one parent seems to have a lawsuit she is ready to file. It seems that the non-lottery students getting the NFA tuition paid for by the Windham district work for the mayor’s office, or are cops, or things like that… Adamowski entered into this NFA deal on his own–he signed the district on.
    Steve Perry is in good company, folks.

    • JMC

      Thank you for outing this so lucidly, M. Some animals are more equal than other animals. It is so heartbreaking that we decent folk have to know how criminals think and then think like criminals ourselves in order to catch up with these…. well, criminals.

  • educationmatters

    Here’s a question.

    What if last nights meeting was to approve a deal where Perry agrees to resign at the end of the year and walk away? That way the city doesn’t need to get into a protracted union (ah, the irony) battle with Perry over termination and don’t need to worry about law suits (ah, double irony) that Perry could bring for harm and damage to professional reputation for the second job that he has speaking. Think about it – if Hartford fires him, how does he continue on to claim that he is a leader in education and get all those speaker fees for his presentations? His reputation would be irreparably damaged and he would be left with no income.

    Yes, yes, few tears are shed…

    What if the incentive for him to agree to the deal includes approval by the state of the school in Bridgeport so that he can continue on as a principal but in another city with a school that will have no oversight?

    That would make sense why the city is not being public about what is going on – they are deathly afraid of a law suit and the repercussions in the press (…will the irony never cease?) and so are willing to undergo a few months of negative press to get to May when the announcement will be made. The board of ed will attempt to take the position that they dealt with a difficult situation, Perry will be able to slink off with his tail between his legs claiming it was the unions and politicians that did him in, will make more money from his new school and can continue on with his speaking career.

    It’s only the children that suffer. And who cares about them, right?

    • guest

      is this speculation or do you know something?

      • educationmatters

        Lets leave it as a question based on combinations of speculation supported by some inside information.

        • Lady in Black

          Didn’t the Bridgeport application happen around the same time as the SAND proposal? Seems to me there was a plan for Perry and his corp to get two schools – one in Hartford and the other Bridgeport. SAND has been postponed for now. But this is Perry’s plan and has been since before starting CPREP – create a model and then take it national. He’s wanted to set up a corp for a long time with “franchises.” The only reason he didn’t start a charter with CPREP is because of $. He didn’t have the fame to fundraise back then and plus, Hartford was willing to give him whatever he wanted – a brand new building, carte blanche. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

          I am skeptical that Hartford is oing to cut ties with Perry any time soon. I think he may be on the way out at CPREP but only if he’s given the keys to a new charter in town on which he can build his empire.

      • Parent @ Cprep

        Steve my children are students @ your school and they have attended other public schools and crec schools. To be honest your school is no different @ all.

    • Linda174

      Yes, yes..we must preserve Perry’s stellar reputation no matter what the cost..remember students first.

      • guest

        two thoughts: HPS may “own” Capital Prep but it was Perry’s baby: he conceived it and developed it into the school it is today and frankly, he did a good job. Capital prep isn’t perfect but it is a good school and he worked hard to make it that way. So really, why not let him leave with dignity?
        secondly, even if they don’t care about preserving Perry’s reputation, they do have to worry about the embarrassment to themselves. If educationmatters is right and this is what happens, it’s in the board’s and HPS interest to let him resign rather than fire him from a PR perspective. It would be different if he were an average principal. Perry has made himself into a public figure.

        • Linda174

          A principal is there to serve his students and support his teachers not promote himself. “Good school”…that is debatable.

          And the Bridgeport community will not welcome another self-promoting bloviating bully.

          A beige Vallas will not be welcomed.

          Expect a fight.

        • guest

          How do you know? Have you been in the school? Experienced it for yourself? If you genuinely don’t believe in the use of extensive testing as the education reform movement does to judge schools, then don’t base your “debatable” on test scores to judge his school. There are other measures of good schools. As you well know.

        • Linda174

          Perry meets no measurement except for football scores and his ego. He touts the trumped up scores all on his own. Liars lie. He’s an expert at deception.

        • guest

          Judged from afar. You just want to villify the guy. The world is black and white to you people.

        • Linda174

          You people….what a hoot. Black, white, beige, ecru, frauds, friends of frauds, defenders of frauds. Judge from up close too. You people….ha!

        • guest

          I’ll clarify: “you people” being the people who want to believe that just because Steve Perry has made some mistakes and is a flawed human being, his school and the tireless devotion of the teachers who work 60 hour plus work weeks 203 days a year is to be discounted. It’s a way better school than SAND or some of the others you defend and the many students who come there from SAND and their parents who prefer it to SAND because they know it is way better are evidence of that. Every school has a few detractors. And of course they are going to post on a blog that shares an enemy. Yes, “you people” view the world in black and white. If you did not you would be willing to concede that Capital Prep has provided an excellent education and family support network for countless children and their families and is not this evil cesspool you characterize it as. To acknowledge this would make your sometimes valid criticisms of Steve Perry seem credible rather than lunatic.

        • Linda174

          Many, many teachers work over 60 hours a week and well past their contracted days, so get off your high horse. You’re not a model for excellence just because your principal galavants around the USA promoting himself and using all of you. CP didn’t capture the market when it comes to passionate, dedicated, experienced, caring teachers. I’m sorry you’re abused.

        • guest

          Have you been in the school? Is your knowledge of it first hand? Come visit. Interview kids. Interview parents. Check it out. Then judge.

        • Linda174

          I suggest you do the same for other CT schools. You’ll find out CP isn’t so special.

        • speaking up

          I have been in the school. My knowledge is firsthand.

          I’m sure that there are fabulous, talented, bright and committed kids, parents and teachers in the school, and I recognize that, if this school didn’t exist, some of the kids may have been in a school that was less success-oriented than Capital Prep works to be. This may or may not have led to these kids being less success-oriented, too.

          Success is a beautiful thing but, first, there are different definitions of success and, second, the same opportunity for success should be available to every single child living in Hartford (or anywhere). Do you know where all of the students who have been advised out of Capital Prep wound up?

          Me either.

          I do know that my child was not treated with any kind of dignity or respect while my child was a student at this school. My child was bullied a group that was led by two of the children who are viewed as being “successful” Capital Prep students. My child did not readily fit in or conform with this top-of-the-heap group of children, and my child was taunted, teased, belittled and, eventually, physically bullied by this group. I raised the issue in the school believing that it would be addressed and the response that I got is why I am speaking up on this site. My issue with this school isn’t that the bullying, abusive climate at Capital Prep wasn’t going to be handled in the way that I would have preferred it to be.

          My issue with this school is that the bullying, abusive climate at Capital Prep was fostered and condoned by the administration at the school, and that the school (and then the district and the state) refused to address it in any way.

          My definition of success doesn’t include being cruel or dismissive to anyone who doesn’t match my definition of success. I’m sure that there are bright, fabulous students left in the school when all of the undesirables have been advised out. I’m sure that there is a supportive network among the families that are left. I am not sure that the school is providing an “excellent education;” when my child was a student there was not any kind of a curriculum, much less a rigorous one. My child picked up one of the books in the “library” and pointed to what my child called a “mistake” in the outdated science book.

          In my opinion, being successful means recognizing that there are different definitions of success. I recently heard a young man describing his volunteer efforts to teach English to Hispanic and Latino classmates – because it hadn’t been available to him in the school that he attended. This young man had dropped out for a year and he’d returned (to a public school) in order to be successful for himself and to help others to do/be the same.

          This young man epitomizes my definition of success and he would not have been able to succeed if he had been a student at Capital Prep.

        • Charlie Puffers

          OK. Set something up for us.

        • WEP55

          It’s easy enough to verify or debunk the claims. Just read the reports Perry himself is required to submit to the State Dept of Ed. They’re available to the public, do your own reading.

          There’s nothing stellar about the results of his school, his student and teacher attrition rates are terrible, and other Hartford schools do better in every category. But Perry’s recipe for success is: taking already college-bound kids who have strong, supportive families, and use THEIR drive to claim he has a successful model, one worthy of franchising (to the benefit of his already fat wallet, with wealth made on school days he takes as vacation days in order to travel the country making speeches for very fat sums!

          Well, by Perry’s measure of replicable model, we should implement the Philips -Exeter model in all Hartford Schools. That, in effect, is exactly what Perry is doing: taking the best, dropping any kids who don’t quite enhance his reputation, and who threaten his supposed record, then he convinces uninformed people that he’s done something special.

          He does all this while alienating gazillions of people who – with someone less vulgar, abrasive and racist – would form productive coalitions to work toward improving all schools. With Perry’s face becoming the face of reform in CT, reform is sunk.

          There are better schools in Hartford, but their principals don’t have publicity and booking agents or public relations reps to manufacture an image and market their schools toward turning them into corporate entities. They aren’t distracted from their jobs as school heads by paid public appearance, twitter arguments, Twitter pr marathons promoting books and speeches, nor do they grovel to become part of the celebrity red carpet circuit.

          They show up at their schools day after day, no glitzy speeches and appearances take them away from their school 20% of the time. They work with and answer for the kids that Perry drops from his school.

          One can only imagine what those dedicated principals think of Mr. Steve Perry.

        • guest

          But I thought you guys didn’t believe in testing? So why would you use testing and data to judge Capital Prep ? You can’t have it both ways: criticizing the educational reform testing/data movement out of one side of your mouth and then using that same testing to judge a school out of the other. Consistency please.

        • Linda174

          You miss the point. Perry doesn’t even measure up to his own touted standards.
          Why can’t he keep teachers?

        • brutus2011

          Perry’s behavior would never be tolerated if he were a classroom teacher. Not even close.

        • Linda174

          Bridgeport has experience when it comes to running charlatans out of town. Same schtick, different shyster.

        • JMC

          I would like to go into the school myself and attend some of the classes and watch the teachers teaching and talk to some of the teachers and students. I am a retired former CT certified teacher. Can you arrange this?

        • WEP55

          he says he welcomes vistors by appt so try setting it up with Perry. But be aware that teachers are afraid to speak up, and the students you WON’T see are the clue to some of the biggest problems about cprep. You know, the ones bypassed on the magnet waiting list in favor of athletes and strong students from families he knows, and the 35% of kids who disappear.between entry and senior year.

        • WEP55

          Then YOU tell us: What about what Perry is (supposedly) doing, worthy of replication, and why should CT taxpayers allow him to incorporate and run a string of schools?

        • Charlie Puffers

          How does one judge the success of a school? In the age of school choice and competition Mr. Perry has mastered the art of marketing. He is a slick salesman. But is there any substance to his shtick.

          There may be students and families who are happy at Capital. There are however many who have left. Those attending other schools and many on this blog report Mr. Perry has mistreated them.

          Has Perry discovered a new teaching method or curriculum that helps students who start school with deficits make up lost ground? If he cares so much about “getting our kids the education they deserve” and that “push has come to shove” wouldn’t he be running around the country sharing what he has discovered? He might even write a book about it for others who would like to replicate his model to open successful schools.

        • R.L.

          Yep Strap Up Steve worked hard to push out the more needy students who might hurt his not so great test scores and through attrition got rid of the ones who might blemish his claim of a 100% graduation and college acceptance rate. Yep, it’s his baby. He did not concieve it though. Adamowski was the lead gamer. Strap Up just played the game with a different twist.

        • guest

          Yeah actually, he did conceive it. The school started out as an after school program. He turned it into a school. It was his idea. Then he brought that idea for a school to HPS.

        • Linda174

          Will you keep the same name when he exits?

          Obviously he can’t work for HPS and run a charter in Bridgeport. Although I doubt he will have either.

          Why doesn’t he just tour full time and give up the faux principal gig?

        • WEP55

          Because the franchise that’s his goal would provide $$ mega-millions, make him a full member of the 1% corporate & celebrity community he years for, and he wouldn’t answer to a board of education. Wealth, autonomy, power, status.

          There’s some kind of narcissist vs. self-hatred struggle within (or racial identity crisis?) about this man. He’s been internally corrupted.

        • WEP55

          This concept is bizarre. What exactly did he “conceive”??

          “School” is not an invention or new idea. A school where kids wear uniforms is not something new. A school that cherry picks and recruits students who are most likely to succeed is not new. Dropping 35% of students when they “aren’t a good fit” – is that the “idea” you’re crediting Perry with, for it’s the only one I’m not aware of in other PUBLIC schools.

          What is the “idea” you credit Perry with?

          Why does Perry get to take the name of a public school and make that his corporate name?? Who does that?

          How did we get into this Land of the Bizarre where the principal is seen as the OWNER of a public school??

        • Say No To Steve Perry

          Steve Perry I see you are using the robo call speech that you sent each parent when you wanted the Capital Prep parents to support you for the Sand school take over “Capital Prep isn’t perfect but”…. Yes Steve you conceived the idea of Capital Prep, please give the man a standing “O”. Sorry Steve Perry the Capital Prep parents, teachers, Hartford and suburbia parents aren’t staying quiet when you resign. We don’t want you to do the same harm to other children and teachers in your over all scheme…. The $$ charter school master plan. The mass media and your followers need to know the truth!!!!!!!!

        • WEP55

          Say No to Steve Perry: Please tell us more about the robo call because this sounds beyond belief! Was there really a robo call supporting Perry’s effort to takeover another Hartford school??? Who paid for that? Who pays for the system that produces robo calls? Please tell us more!

        • Say No To Steve Perry

          The robo call was sent from the PTO president and they were trying to recruit parents for the first Hartford BOE meeting to speak on behalf of C-Prep. They even transported students to the meeting. Every school has a robo call for announcements about the school etc.

        • WEP55

          So Perry uses his public school PTO to promote his private corporation?!? @$!##! How does this kind of lawlessness go on under a public board of education, mayor, state board of education??

          Can you say multiple level lawsuits for ignoring (condoning?) this baloney??? Where the heck is the CT Attorney General??

  • I’m a Capital Prep Parent Too

    Please note if Steve Perry does resign they need to send Vice Principal Beganski with him. If not then “Wanna Be Steve Perry” AKA Vice Principal Beganski will be doing the same harm to our children. He is just as bad when it comes to discipline practices, demoralizing teachers, not calling back parents, putting special education services on the back burner and other unethical practices.

    • WEP55

      Absolutely! If they are like-minded; then both need to go.

  • Rafael G

    I’m glad I’m seeing more and more parents FROM CPREP standing up and voicing concerns from the inside. I’m glad to see the beacons of gondor have been lit! The “few” voices are starting to get louder and louder…

  • I’m a Capital Prep Parent Too

    Next on Steve Perry’s hit parade… Springfield Mass. It seems Steve is doing alot of speaking engagements out that way. But that is his style right?? Targeting the poor cities… Making an empire off of the backs of poor kids 🙁 What surprises me is that he goes into “churches” and feels comfortable outwardly lying. I guess if you believe your lies for so long that they become your reality.

    • Linda174

      Notice there are no speaking engagements in CT except when he parades the kids to the HPS BOE to repeat failing schools over and over and over. Kids are his props to build his ego and his wallet.

      • Rafael G

        Thats very true. See his true controversy has yet to spill over to national news. So there are alot of states who dont even know whats happening here in this state the things we are witnessing being allowed to transpire at what is supposed to be a safe place of education. I cant stand the idea that he wants to move his base of ops to bridgeport, where there is ALREADY strong tension on the educational front. Both the SDOE and the HBOE are equally responsible for the abuses the children and faculty face there if they continue to do nothing, and further still ALLOW him to operate in bridgeport! There already too many reports of wrong doing emanating from there for the BOARD(S) to claim ignorance any longer. And the time to allow them the benefit of the doubt has ended

        • Larry Deutsch, City Council

          It should be known that this TUESDAY FEB. 11 AT 5pm, 3rd floor of HARTFORD CITY HALL, the ETHICS COMMISSION of Hartford will again take up the topic of Mr. Perry’s words and actions, which I introduced two months ago. Since I (City Council Minority Leader Larry Deutsch, Working Families Party) have fewer details than many others, including on this blog, others are welcome – URGED – to attend and provide facts and views. [It’s asked earlier in this column if there are elected officials with the courage or conviction to pursue these violations; we HAVE done so, but need more avenues and legal counsel beyond Ethics Commission to enforce…]
          On a related subject: for those interested in running for mayor or city council and activity on the Perry matter, etc., wouldn’t it be helpful to join forces around such policies and contests, so that in near future there’ll be more progressive voices, rather than the 6 constant “Democrats” or returning Republicans?

        • jonpelto

          Larry you are absolutely right and all of out here truly appreciate what real leaders like you and Robort Cotto and others have done to raise this issues. I should have put elected officials in the majority because the local WFP officials have been heroic in Hartford and Bridgeport.

          Thanks you again for all you are doing.

        • guest

          Jon can you post this so more will see it?

  • joek

    as an avid reader of the sports page i often wonder why c.p. plays out of state games. also, who pays the expenses. since those games replace ct. school teams…why? are ct. coaches refusing to play them? if so, why? recruiting players for schools goes back as far as the 1970’s…maybe c.p. took that history lesson. the c.i.a.c. will need to take a stronger stance…