Quick News Brief – More to Come on this breaking story!
With billions of dollars in taxpayer funds being diverted from public schools to privately owned and operated charter schools, a motley collection of the nation’s super-wealthy, including sports and music stars, are looking to cash in on the existing bi-partisan political support for the privatization of public education in the United States.
According to recent published reports, the latest to climb on the Charter School Industry Gravy train is rap star, actor, record producer, clothing designer and successful entrepreneur Sean Combs, who has previously gone by the name of P. Diddy, Diddy and Puff Daddy.
In an article entitled, Capital Prep Founder To Oversee Sean “Diddy” Combs’ New Harlem School, the Hartford Courant reports;
“Combs announced Monday that the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School will open in the fall. The school will be overseen by Capital Prep leader Steve Perry, who founded Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford in 2005.
By “partnering” with Steve Perry, who refers to himself as the “Most Trusted Educator in America,” Combs is tying his charter school ownership aspirations to the controversial, anti-union, anti-teacher, media personality who “made” his reputation as a principal of a Hartford magnet school that was and continues to be part of the Hartford Public School System.
Perry gained national notoriety for his school’s harsh disciplinary policies that included the use of the “Table of Shame” to punish children who received demerits and for his ugly public comments about unions, teachers and anyone who opposed his empire building efforts.
As a 2013 Wait, What? post entitled, Hey Steve Perry – Tell us about Capital Prep’s “Table of Shame,” explained;
Located in the cafeteria of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School at 1304 Main Street in Hartford, Connecticut is the “Table of Shame.”
At part of Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry’s “zero-tolerance” policies even the slightest “violations,” such as wearing the wrong colored belt, will result in punishments designed to humiliate and demean students.
For example, it is not uncommon for Capital Prep students to be forced to stand in the cafeteria to eat as punishment for violating the school uniform policy or some equally unimportant “violation.”
And now, more than a half a dozen former and present parents, students and teachers report that Perry and his fellow Capital Prep administrators regularly require children, even the youngest students in the building, to sit at the cafeteria’s “Table of Shame.”
And yes… it is actually referred to as the “Table of Shame.”
Along with the charges of abusive disciplinary practices and questionable financial activities – According to federal and state documents, Steve Perry registered his private charter school management company at the address of the Hartford public school at which he worked – Perry’s unwillingness to provide federally required educational services to children with special needs led to a sweeping investigation and follow-up action.
As a Hartford school administrator, Perry was also unwilling or unable to recruit and retain students who where English Language Learners despite more than 50 percent of Hartford’s students being Latino.
Perry is also fond of attacking unions and teachers, famously calling teacher unions roaches and belittling classroom teachers and the teaching profession.
Of course, as for his anger management problems, when the Hartford Board of Education rejected his proposal to give his private company ownership and control of two Hartford public schools, Perry infamously Tweeted;
“The only way to lose a fight is to stop fighting. All this did was piss me off. It’s so on. Strap up, there will be head injuries.”
For more on that piece see Update: “Strap up [my gun], there will be head injuries” (Steve Perry 11/20/13) and the Washington Post’s coverage, Angry principal tweets: ‘Strap up, there will be head injuries’
With this latest public relations claim that this new charter school in Harlem is P. Diddy’s invention, Perry is proving, yet again, that the he and the truth don’t often go hand in hand.
The latest Hartford Courant story adds;
“I want to make getting an A cool,” Perry said Combs told him. To support the effort, Combs initially provided staff and office space. He also helped identify people and institutions to build support for the school.
And he’s played a role as the school has been developed. He conducted the final interview with Jones and has gotten involved in issues as minute as cleaning restrooms.
The school will open in the fall with 80 sixth graders and 80 seventh graders.
Perry said he asked Combs whether he wanted the school named after him. The answer was no. “Call it Capital Prep,” Combs told him, Perry said.
Steve Perry is claiming that he asked Diddy whether he wanted his name attached to the new charter school but the rap icon said that he wanted to use the name of Perry’s school instead?
In classic Perry fashion, the nation’s “most trusted educator” is hoping that no one actually checks the record.
As the record proves, it was Perry and his company who submitted the proposal to open a charter school in Harlem and the application was approved, despite a long list of questionable statements that were contained in Perry’s application.
This truth is that this isn’t P. Diddy’s charter school, it is Steve Perry’s charter school that he is now connecting to P. Diddy’s star power.
The application to open the school never mentioned Diddy in any way whatsoever.
As reported back in 2014 by Wait, What? in articles entitled, Self-proclaimed as “America’s Most Trusted Educator,” Steve Perry says he is opening a charter school in NYC? And Perry’s New York City charter school application generates requests for investigations, the truth was clear.
“Earlier this month [November 2014], the New York Board of Regents moved to approve a charter school application from Steve Perry, a principal of a public school in Connecticut who has formed a charter school management company in the hopes of opening up charter schools in the greater New York City region.
Although the Board of Regents’ Education Committee approved the charter school application submitted by Mr. Perry, he does not own the concepts, materials and intellectual property contained in that application. Instead they belong to the Hartford, Connecticut Board of Education.
At their November meeting, the P-12 Education Committee of the New York Board of Regents, upon the recommendation of Commissioner John B. King, Jr and the staff of the New York State Department of Education, voted to approve the application for the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School.
In the memo to the P-12 Committee, Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. wrote, “The Commissioner and Department staff recommend that the Board of Regents consider, approve and issue initial charters and provisional charters for the following four new charter schools.” The list included Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School.
As the application read,
CPS is designed to be a fiscally fit “boutique” charter management organization (“CMO”) ….Geographic clustering will allow us to stay small yet generate the revenue necessary to effectively maintain a CMO. Hartford, Bridgeport and Harlem are the three cities in which we have decided to manage schools. It is our hope that we will manage two schools in Harlem. The first is to be Capital Prep Harlem, 6-12. The second would be a kindergarten to 5th grade school in or near the first in CSD 5
From all the available evidence, it appears that the school P. Diddy is opening this fall is actually the school that the New York Board of Regents approved for Perry but not for Diddy.
Perry is now relying on Sean Combs to fill the seats in the charter school that the New York Board of Regents approved for Perry.
Note that in the application to the New York Board of Regents, Perry also stated that his company owned a school in Hartford, Connecticut but that is an absolute and total lie. The school in question is not owned by Steve Perry’s charter school management organization but is owned by the residents of Hartford and operated by the Hartford Public Schools System.
As the story continues to develop, it is also worth remembering that while Steve Perry brags about the “famous” people associated with Charter School Board of Directors, those familiar with Perry and his proclivities will remember the issue about Perry’s new charter school in Bridgeport, Connecticut – in which Wait, What? wrote: