The truth is that Capital Prep Steve Perry’s “school performance” comes up short

When it comes to the performance of Capital Prep Magnet School, Steve Perry is known for his rhetoric.  Perry says “his” students do better than students at traditional public schools.  However, by measure after measure, it turns out that his hyperbole is nothing but a lie.

When Steve Perry is introduced at his lucrative fee-to-speak events he is introduced as the principal who has 100 percent of his students go on to college.  Of course, that statistic isn’t true.

In a BET.com interview released today, Perry says:

“I’ll be honest; I think our kids are better. If I showed you where our school is, you would see a liquor store, a closed-down barbershop, a prerequisite sneaker store for the $150 sneakers, a nail salon and a couple of blacked out buildings. For students to walk in five degree weather to Capital Prep and do what we ask them to do… They aren’t regular. They’re not regular at all. They are exceptional!”

The truth is that children are exceptional!

But is Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry doing a BETTER job educating students than other public schools?

The answer is no.

In particular, is he doing a better job educating his primary target population of African American students?

Again, the answer is no.

Late last year, Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor rolled out a new database called the “School and District Performance Reports for All Connecticut Schools.”

Stefan Pryor said:

“Our accountability system is designed both to recognize the progress our schools are making and to reveal the challenges where they exist. These reports demonstrate that there are bright spots and best practices as well as areas in need of review and improvement in districts and schools across the state,”

According to the new system:

A School Performance Index (SPI) is the average of all Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) test performance for all subjects tested for all students in the school. A District Performance Index (DPI) is Corresponding average for all students in the district. The SPI/DPI ranges in value from 0 to 100 points. Connecticut’s ultimate target for an SPI/DPI is 88 because in a school/district with an SPI of 88 or above, students will have performed at or above the “goal” level on the majority of tests.

So here is the data: 

In this case, here is the data on the School Performance Index for African American students;

Note that according to the Connecticut State Department of Education’s own data, Capital Prep doesn’t even do as well as the same demographic cohort of students attending the rest of Hartford Public School System. 

District/School 2013 School Performance Index:African American Students  (Index is 0 to 100)
Bloomfield Public Schools 77.5
Windsor Public Schools 68.4
Stamford Public Schools 62.1
New London Public Schools 60.7
Hartford Public Schools 59.7
Meriden Public Schools 59.6
Capital Prep Magnet School 58.3
East Hartford Public Schools 57.2
Windham Public Schools 56.8
New Haven Schools 54.4
Bridgeport Public Schools 51.3
New Britain Public Schools 50.1
  • Disgusted Parent

    Makes you wonder why people such as Oprah and these colleges inviting him to speak don’t do the research before interviewing this moron.

    • Linda174

      Because they’re lazy, it fits their preconceived notions and they buy his bloviating buffoonery. The non-educator “reformers” froth over quick solutions that blame teachers and point the direction away from their failed leadership.

    • notafanforeal

      @Digusted Parent That is what really blows me away as well! My child was a C-Prep victim and it angers me to know end, when I see him cozy up to Steve Harvey, Bill Cosby on and on…. In Jet, Ebony image awards… I will be so happy when he gets exposed for the charlatan he really is!

  • Linda174

    A few more visuals:

  • educationmatters

    They want a “magic bullet” messiah who has “THE solution” that doesn’t require extra work or admitting that some children have a harder time with school than others.

    • Ed Harris

      The “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good” mentality

  • Charlie Puffers

    Amazing that this information is available to all of us who care to look at the CT DOE website. Yet, Jon Pelto is the only one letting the public know. The HBOE was all set to hand over another school to him because the y didn’t do the research and none of the local news sources bothered to report the truth – Hartford Courant where are you?

    Now Bridgeport is all set to do the same thing – give the fraud another school. Is there an investigative journalist working for a newspaper in Bridgeport? Seems like an easy investigation if it is all available on the website.

    I wonder if Stefan Pryor ever reads his department’s website.

  • Linda174

    As if no other HPS students are walking in the cold past stores or empty buildings. Perry has the monopoly on the life struggles of all city students? What an egomaniac.

    • Sue B.

      What percentage of his student body, is bussed in from the middletown suburbs he lives in?

      • Linda174

        There was a segment on CNN with Perry boasting how he drove kids to school, but it was his sons and his nephews from the Middletown area. It left the viewer with the impression he was driving around the streets of Hartford picking up poor brown children. How does he keep his stories straight? If he’s talking, he’s spinning.

        • Sue B.

          I talked to parents of 4 white kids that went C prep. They start at Middletown public monday. The parents all said Steve seemed great………at first.
          I’ve heard as many as 200 kids at cprep are from the suburbs of middletown.
          Not housing projects…suburbs. I have personally seen some cprep kids getting dropped off at Middletown youth football practice in moms lexus. So I don’t think Perry is “educating the poor black folk” as he claims.

  • jrp1900

    The first thing to say about the test performances of Capital Prep students is that the whole test regime is a puerile and dispiriting way of picturing academic competency and growth. Numerous studies have shown the intellectual poverty of standardized tests: the tests are invariably biased. Many students are bored to death by them, and they do not give their best effort when test day comes around. The grading for some of the tests is ridiculous, having little to do with “science,” as graders (for some of the test companies) are often poorly trained and are taught to make their assessments using uncreative formulas. If you wanted to develop an exciting educational system, you would never make use of standardized tests as anything other than a strategic diagnostic. But if you want to kill dynamic education by constraining both teachers and students into routine drills, then standardized testing is definitely your thing. The corporate reformers want more control over every aspect of schooling, so naturally they favor standardized tests.
    Stefan Pryor is a twit who sounds like he swallowed a corporate office memo. Who says things like “accountability system” when they talking of children in schools?
    The SPI and the DPI are both bullshit. The reformers love “metrics” because they give them the feeling that they are doing “science.” The most powerful indices of school performance remain social factors like income and cultural capital. But the reformers don’t want to talk about poverty and discrimination and the like, because then they would be out of a job. Much better to pretend that teachers are the issue and that the SPI and the DPI are pure objective data.
    Pryor’s “accountability system” is not to be credited, but, having said that, it is the way the game is currently being played, so what does it tell us about Capital Prep? It tells us that even by their own stupid standards, the corporate reformers are unsuccessful.
    Capital Prep scores lower than Hartford Public schools in meeting the academic needs of African-American children!
    This is not as surprising as it might seem. Certainly, Dr. Perry has many advantages over Hartford Public Schools. He is able to select his student body (by devious means), and he has more leeway than other school administrators in Hartford to impose “values” on the children. And yet he is unable to live up to his grandiose claims and promises about leaving no child behind in the race for success ? And why is that? The reason is simple: the children at Capital Prep are children; they aren’t guinea pigs and rats ; they aren’t props in some television show. Dr. Perry is an exponent of “no excuses,” which translates into a crude behaviorist discipline: he seems to believe that if the children get a good dose of “negative reinforcement” (like the so-called “table of shame”), this will eventually put them on the right track. Dr. Perry should know: this approach may well have purchase with rats in a maze, but it is unlikely to work with people, who have desires, dignity and wills of their own. Dr. Perry can bully the children and get some compliance from them, but with such methods he cannot make them love learning, and, quite possibly, he cannot even make them like the experience of school. Any real teacher knows that when a child is disaffected, they will refuse to give their best. Hence the relatively dismal SPI at Capital Prep. If Dr. Perry were honest: he would take the SPI number as an indictment of his practices, and he would commit himself to those changes which would improve student morale. But Dr. Perry is an “acclaimed educator” and an “innovative” thinker and an “inspirational” speaker, and so he can’t possibly concede that his school is really a “failure.” The show must go on, and so lies have to be told.
    Dr. Perry is right about one thing: the children at Capital Prep are “exceptional.” Indeed, all children are exceptional, in the sense that they cannot be compared to anyone but themselves. This is exactly what makes the child in front of us unique; and good teaching is all about finding the right relationship with each unique child to bring out their native potential. The corporate reformers are blind to the human reality of education, and that is one reason why they are so enamored of “standards”: in the end they want “standardized” teachers and “standardized” students. It’s the McDonaldization of American public schooling!

    • jonpelto

      Absolutely positively – perfectly said jrp –

    • speaking up

      There is something perverse and incomprehensible going on with Dr. Steve Perry and “his” school, Capital Prep. I find myself at a complete loss for words with each new, outrageous report. The potential for disaster seems evident; I wonder what Public School and Education administrators in Hartford and Connecticut can possibly be thinking and I don’t know where to begin or what to say.

      Luckily, I don’t have to say anything, because jrp1900 is so eloquent. Thank you, jrp, for making sense of the absurd.