Capital Prep “Table of Shame” Steve Perry on the notion of “Professional Responsibility to Students.”

When the Hartford Board of Education meets in executive session tonight to discuss the bizarre behavior of Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry, let us hope that they have a copy of  The Connecticut Code of Professional Responsibility for School Administrators which lays out the school administrator’s duties as mandated by Connecticut State Regulations 10-145d-400b.

Because the evidence proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Steve Perry delights in his “No Excuses” policy. 

At Capital Prep, wearing the wrong colored belt could get you in big trouble.

The allegations of harsh disciplinary policies that may cross over to child abuse include forcing children to eat their lunch while sitting at the “Table of Shame,” making children eat their lunch standing up, making children stand during entire academic class periods and making children stand for long periods of time facing the wall in administrators offices.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are allegations of even more severe disciplinary policies.

Perry is so proud of his approach that he even takes to his Twitter account to brag about his approach to “educating” the children under his care.

For example, here is one of Perry’s Tweets from earlier this year.

Dr. Steve Perry@DrStevePerry  Tweeted:

“Nobody has any use for ppl who can’t deal w adversity. Parents, coaches & teachers need to manufacture adversity to teach kids how to deal.”

As parents, teachers and a growing number of citizens know, Capital Prep’s leader scoffs at the notion that poverty is a form of adversity.  For that matter, Perry has also made it extremely clear that learning to overcome special education challenges isn’t dealing with adversity either.

As Steve Perry put it, “Nobody has any use for ppl who can’t deal w adversity. Parents, coaches & teachers need to manufacture adversity to teach kids how to deal.”

And then there is Section (e) of the Connecticut Code of Professional Responsibility for School Administrators which outlines administrator’s “Responsibility to the Students.”

The code reads:

“The professional school administrator, in full recognition of obligation to the student, shall:

(1) Make the well-being of students the fundamental value in all decision-making and actions;

(2) Recognize, respect and uphold the dignity and worth of students as individuals and deal justly and considerately with students;

(3) Promote in students pursuit of truth, knowledge and wisdom, and provide access to all points of view without deliberate distortion of subject matter;

(4) Nurture in students lifelong respect and compassion for themselves and other human beings regardless of race, ethnic origin, gender, social class, disability, religion or sexual orientation;

(5) Foster in students the full understanding, application and preservation of democratic principles and processes;

(6) Guide students to acquire the required skills and understandings for participatory citizenship and to realize their obligation to be worthy and contributing members of society;

(7) Assist students in the formulation of positive goals;

(8) Promote the right and freedom of students to learn, explore ideas, develop learning skills and acquire the necessary knowledge to achieve their full potential;

(9) Develop within students fundamental critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques;

(10) Ensure quality education for all students;

(11) Maintain confidentiality of all information concerning students obtained in the proper course of the educational process and dispense the information when prescribed or directed by law, governing board policy or professional practice;

(12) Ensure that all students are provided educational opportunities in environments safe from sexual, physical, and emotional abuse; and

(13) Promote ongoing development and evaluation of curriculum”

NEWS FLASH: Executive Session on Steve Perry re-appears on Hartford BOE agenda

The agenda is out for the Special Meeting of the Hartford Board of Education to be held on Tuesday, February 4, 2014.  The meeting beings at 5:30 pm at the Fred E. Wish Museum School located at 350 Barbour St in Hartford.

One of the first items on the agenda is the “Public Comment” period. In an unprecedented move, the agenda reads that that Public Comment is “limited to business items”.

The last item is an agenda is an Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter and entitled [Steve Perry].

Assuming this is still America where Freedom of Speech is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the constitution of the State of Connecticut, one has to assume that public comments can be addressed to the Steve Perry issue since it is on the “agenda” although the language limited public comment to “business items” is bizarre to say the least.

So as long as the Superintendent and Board don’t try to stifle public comments, this may well  be the only time parents and community members can address the Hartford Board of Education before they meet in Executive Session to discuss Steve Perry’s flagrant violations of Board policies and potential violations of state law.

And here is a rather odd item: 

The Hartford Board of Education Agenda for Tuesday contains a rather strange note that explains that the “Public Comment” period is recommended to last no more than 30 minutes.

In all previous sessions of the Hartford Board of Education, the “Public Comment” section is called a “Dialogue Session” and almost never included a “recommended” time limit.  The few times a time limit was listed it read – (Recommended 60 minutes)

According to previous Hartford Board of Education agenda, there was no time limit for the following meetings:
11/19/2013
10/15/2013
9/19/2013
8/27/2013
7/27/2013
3/19/2013
2/19/2013
1/15/2013
 
A “Recommended 60 minute time limit for the Dialogue session was listed for two meetings:
 1/27/2014 and 12/19/2013

Those concerned about whether the Board of Education is trying to remove your guaranteed right to free speech may want to check with the Superintendent, Board of Education Chairman or Mayor before the meeting.

Superintendent Kishimoto:  [email protected]

Board Chairman Matt Poland: [email protected] and [email protected]

Mayor Pedro Segarra: [email protected]

The Tuesday February 4th meeting agenda can be found at:

http://www.hartfordschools.org/files/02042014BoESpecialMeetingAgendaPACKET.pdf

New pictures paint even more serious concerns about child abuse at Capital Prep

New pictures paint even more serious concerns about child abuse at Capital Prep

Over the last few months, Wait, What? readers have learned about Steve Perry’s efforts to humiliate, punish and bully Capital Prep students by forcing them to sit at the “Table of Shame” requiring that students stand up while eating lunch in the Capital Prep cafeteria, that students are forced to stand during entire class periods or faced to stand facing a wall in the administrator’s offices for long periods of time.

A concerned citizen has now sent Wait, What? graphic pictures of students being forced to carry weights and march in line outside the school.

Capital Prep’s disciplinary practices have clearly crossed the line and are nothing short of child abuse.

Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, the Hartford Board of Education and Mayor Pedro Segarra, along with the other Hartford Public School Leaders have refused to take action.  Hartford’s elected and appointed officials didn’t even suspend Capital Prep Magnet School Principal Steven Perry when he used his Twitter Account to make threats that would get students, teachers, or other administrators arrested, suspended or fired.

Meanwhile, despite repeated requests to Commissioner Stefan Pryor and his Communications Director, Kelly Donnelly, for information about how parents, teachers and concerned citizens can file complaints against Steve Perry and Capital Prep Magnet School, the leadership of the State Department of Education has refused to turn over publicly available information about the complaint process.

These latest pictures and allegations of even more child abuse at Capital Prep raise the very real possibility that by failing to act, Superintendent Kishimoto, Commissioner Pryor and their immediate staff have become accessories to the crime of child abuse.

Kishimoto and Pryor were repeatedly warned that something very bad was taking place at Capital Prep and they have consistently refused to fulfill their legal and moral duties to the children, parents, teachers and citizens for whom they are sworn to serve.

The pictures and full list of allegations and confirmed examples of child abuse and bullying will now be turned over to appropriate federal and state investigators.

Kishimoto and Pryor would do well to move quickly to ensure that all documentation related to their failure to act is not destroyed or deleted.

While Kishimoto’s failure to follow through on Steve Perry and Capital Prep may have directly endangered Hartford children, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and his communication department’s repeated failure to respond to Freedom of Information requests about how to file complaints delayed efforts to confront the allegations of abuse and bullying and may be a contributing factor associated with any child abuse that has taken place under Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry’s watch.

Hopefully law enforcement officials will take immediate steps to investigate the numerous reports of child abuse and bullying and ensure that anyone who allowed these abuses to continue is prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

No one is above the law, not even Capital Prep Steve Perry (a re-cap)

The Hartford Board of Education will be holding its rescheduled board meeting tonight at the Journalism & Media Academy Magnet School which is located at 150 Tower Avenue in Hartford.

The public may address the Hartford Board of Education at 5:30pm

The executive session on Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry has not been re-scheduled.

Considering the extremely serious allegations that have been brought to light about Capital Prep and its principal, Steve Perry, it is hard to imagine that Hartford Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto plans to prevent the Board from having a meaningful discussion about Perry and his failure to uphold the fundamental principles, ethical behavior and regulations that apply to Hartford school principals.

A weekend Wait, What? post entitled “Hartford Board of Education’s “Perry Problem” must still to be addressed” highlighted a list of some of the issues that have been raised to date.  Those issues include:

  • Perry using his Twitter account to make threats that would have gotten a student or teacher arrested, suspended or fired, yet no action was taken by Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto or the Board of Education to date.
  • Although Perry is responsible for an 800-student school, he has missed approximately 20% of the school days during this academic year qualifying him as “excessively absent” and a “truant” under the State Department of Education’s policies concerning school attendance.  If he was a student, the school would have been required to institute special efforts to try to get Perry back into the school.
  • To date, Perry has sent out more than 32,200 Tweets from his Twitter account, many during school hours.  A conservative estimate is that Perry’s obsessive Tweeting while working (Tworking) has cost Hartford and Connecticut taxpayers in excess of $12,500 in wasted salary payments and benefits to Perry.
  • When Perry is at school and not Tweeting, he is often conducting media interviews to promote his private speaking business.  The use of school time and resources to further his private company is a violation of Hartford ethics policies and state law.
  • Allegations continue to mount that Perry and Capital Prep are utterly failing to provide their special education students with the services required in each student’s IEPs (Individualized Education Plans).  The reports suggest that Perry and the school are in gross violation of federal and state law.  An independent investigation by the State of Connecticut and the Federal Government is needed, although there are new reports that such an investigation has already begun.
  • Parents and teachers report that abusive discipline policies continue at Capital Prep.  Perry’s policies lead to students being forced to stand during entire class periods, forcing students to stand during lunch, forcing students to sit at the “Table of Shame” and even more serious allegations of abusive discipline policies.
  • Parents and teachers also report that bullying continues to run rampant at Capital Prep and that Perry’s failure to fulfill his legal duties under Federal and State bullying laws is only the tip of the iceberg.  Direct reports and dozens of Tweets on the subject reveal that Perry has created an unhealthy workplace in which teachers and school staff are regularly bullied by Perry and his fellow school administrators.
  • And the list goes on… including allegations of telling selected parents to fill out applications in such a way as to ensure acceptance to the school or urging parents to falsify demographic information so that Capital Prep can collect extra public funds under the Sheff racial desegregation case and laws.

Meanwhile, Achieve Hartford Inc., the corporate funded education reform advocacy group came out swinging in a broad defense of Steve Perry.  Achieve Hartford Inc. claimed that concerns about Perry were nothing more than an inappropriate attempt to count the number of times Perry has used his Twitter account.  Of course nothing could be further from the truth.

You can read more about Achieve Hartford’s claim that Perry is above the rules and laws that apply to everyone else at: Corporate funded education reform group speaks out for Steve Perry.

And at the same time, concern about workplace bullying is garnering more and more attention.  The need for better enforcement of existing laws and a stronger workplace bullying law is covered in a Wait, What? blog entitled, “Workplace Bullying: Capital Prep isn’t the only abuser.”

Finally, Perry has the propensity to attack others for “making up numbers” while  excusing his own reliance on rhetoric that is not based on facts.

For example, in defense of his demand for a second “Capital Prep,” last week Perry Tweeted “Can someone explain how CPrep can currently have 2,300 apps” and yet isn’t getting another school.

Of course, hyperbole being what it is, according to the official documents only 700 not 2,400 of the applicants for the school lottery requested Capital as their first choice school.  The number Perry cites includes 1,700 students who actually chose a different school as their first choice in the upcoming lottery.  Considering 700 is a perfectly legitimate number, it begs the question about why Perry is just completely unable or unwilling to tell the whole truth.

Corporate funded education reform group speaks out for Steve Perry

After reading the latest from Achieve Hartford Inc., it is hard to know quite what to say.

In a not so veiled attack on Wait, What? and those who have been demanding that Perry be held accountable to the same standards that apply to everyone else, Achieve Hartford, Inc. asks

“Our hope is that Board members are not being asked to spend time contemplating the tweets of Dr. Perry, because if they’re being asked to spend time on that over the state of education in our city, then, ‘Houston, we have a problem.’”

Contemplating tweets? 

Houston, we have a problem?

When parents, teachers and fellow citizens speak out to remind our elected officials that now one is above the law, Achieve Hartford Inc. call is it “contemplating tweets”?

Are they talking about the Tweet that would have gotten anyone else arrested?

Are they talking about thousands of personal and business tweets while on the job, costing taxpayers more than $12,500 in wasted pay?

Are they talking about Perry using public time and resources to work on his private business – something that is actually illegal, as well as unethical.

Are they talking about the charges that Perry is violating federal and state law by not providing mandated services to special education students?

Are they talking about the incredibly serious charges of harsh disciplinary practices that have apparently crossed over to nothing short of child abuse at Capital Prep?

Are they talking about Perry’s failure to deal with bullying in a legally and morally responsible way?

What exactly is Achieve Hartford Inc. talking about?

Perhaps readers could help shed light on what they think Achieve Hartford  Inc. is suggesting and we can send any questions over to them.

Here is what Achieve Hartford actually put out:

 “Please bear with us for a history lesson: Last October, a Hartford Board of Education meeting centered on the performance of Capital Preparatory Magnet School.  The Board applauded school founder Steve Perry and asked him to share his strong student performance data and social-justice approach to preparing students for college.

About a month later, a behind-the-scenes plan emerged for Capital Prep to expand its model to SAND Elementary – with five days’ notice to the community.  The concept, using one of the best assets Hartford has at its disposal (and one located only three blocks away from SAND) seemed right for a district wrestling to replicate success.

Ideological and personal opposition to the proposed Capital Prep-Steve Perry partnership came from a handful of vociferous teachers and parents, all at one Board of Ed meeting. After the proposal was discussed in executive session, it was scrapped, just like that.

Mysteriously, the concept never re-surfaced. Indeed, there has been no mention of expanding Capital Prep since. Soon after that Board meeting, the blogosphere lit up about an offensive tweet sent by an offended Dr. Perry in relation to the proposal getting scrapped. In a matter of days, the focus on using Capital Prep to turn around a low-performing school was lost.

Last week, a Board executive session was slated to discuss Dr. Perry. With the snow postponing that meeting, that item has vanished from the agenda of the meeting rescheduled for Monday.

We are  wondering what could be so important that a closed discussion was needed – and then not needed –  concerning one of the few school leaders in Hartford achieving strong (not perfect) student performance.

Like him or hate him, Steve Perry does what most of us only talk about: prepare Hartford students for college.

Our hope is that Board members are not being asked to spend time contemplating the tweets of Dr. Perry, because if they’re being asked to spend time on that over the state of education in our city, then, ‘Houston, we have a problem’ … and don’t think it’s a problem that potential superintendent candidates will overlook. Especially since, right now, Capital Prep has received far more applications than most other magnet schools in the choice lottery, by a lot. “

A look at Steve Perry’s record of absenteeism and use of social media to bully others

On Tuesday January 21, 2014 the Hartford Board of Education will hold a special executive session to discuss Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry.  The public has the opportunity to address the Hartford Board of Education starting at 5:30 pm.  The meeting is taking place at the Journalism and Media Magnet Academy located at 150 Tower Avenue in Hartford. 

Since the discussion about Perry will be held behind closed doors and in Executive Session it isn’t clear what topics will be discussed.

In addition to charges of excessive student disciplinary policies that border on child abuse, widespread bullying of students and teachers, violating federal and state law by failing to provide students with mandated special education services and doctoring official documents to make it appear that the school qualifies for additional funds under the Sheff agreement, Perry’s excessive absenteeism and obsessive use of Twitter during the school day may also come up.

Dealing with excessive absenteeism in Connecticut schools has been a top priority for the Hartford Board of Education and the State Department of Education.

In an effort to address the problem of truancy, the State Department of Education and State Board of Education have defined excessive absenteeism as missing at 20% of school days, for any reason.

As 2013 came to an end, Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry had missed about 30 of 127 school days since the 2013-2014 Capital Prep school year had begun.  That comes to nearly 24 percent of all school days.

Instead of being on duty, as required, Perry was usually gallivanting across the country making money thanks to his public speaking business.

When Steve Perry was at work, he spent an inordinate amount of time doing media interviews to promote that public speaking business or obsessively using his Tweeter account.

Over the last few months he has conducted dozens of media interviews, many during school hours.

In addition, since he created his Tweeter account, Steve Perry has sent out more than 33,958 Tweets.  Many of these were sent during school hours.

Even the most conservative estimate is that Perry has spent about 150 hours Tweeting while he was being paid by the taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut.  At his six-figure salary level that means taxpayers have paid Perry well in excess of $10,000 for the time he spent Tweeting.

Making matters even worse, in many cases those Tweets were abusive, insulting and in violation of Hartford School Board policies.  The most extreme example being  his infamous Tweet on Thursday morning, November 21, 2013.

Still angry that his plan to transfer two Hartford schools to a private company that he had created had been rejected by the Hartford Board of Education, while students and teachers were working, Perry Tweeted;

Dr. Steve Perry‏@DrStevePerry

“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.”

Whether the term “strap up” does or doesn’t refer the practice of carrying a concealed weapon, the phrase, “there will be head injuries” would be enough to get any public school student suspended or a teacher fired.

But while Matt Poland, the chairman of the Hartford Board of Education demanded an investigation into Perry’s potentially illegal action, no investigation was apparently conducted and Perry went right back to his Tweeting frenzy.

Over the months, Perry’s tweets often focused on his hatred of unions and public school advocates.

He has called public education advocate Diane Ravitch a racist on dozens of occasions and has made similar statements about AFT President Randi Weingarten and other teacher union officials.

In addition to calling teachers roaches and bullying his own staff, some of his more bizarre Tweets include,

  • “How can your job be hard? You work with kids all day! If it’s so hard, quit!”
  • We have these conversations in closed spaces because teachers will start trying to make you feel bad for them.”
  • “Our traditional schools over-feminized…”
  • “When you go to charters you get ppl who care about you, you get the complete opposite in public schools.”
  • America has a long & ugly history of groups like the teachers’ unions fighting to keep minority kids from getting out of failed schools.
  • The teachers union is power-thirsty.
  • Want to stop truancy? … tell your teachers to get to work.
  • All DUE PROCESS means is that you need documentation for your decision. You don’t have to justify your documentation to the union.”
  • “Everyone knows that ineffective educators fall in the union shield to protect them from accountability. When you’re good you’re “protected.”
  • “Their playbook is the same. They don’t do their job & they get written up for it. They claim admins CAN’T write them up. “It’s harassment.”
  • “The strategy to keep ineffective educators is simple. Stall, claim harassment, file a CHRO or ADA complaint & more accusations. Same ol same.”
  •  “Most admins believe they answer to the union. WRONG. You work for the kids & the board. They’re the ONLY ppl to whom you have to answer.”
  • “The harassment strategy is usually their go to. The other is that you’re “bullying” them. It’s not either it’s called supervision.”
  • “Too many admins don’t want to be the bad guy so they capitulate to these silly claims. Focus on the kids & desperate adults won’t matter.”
  • “Protecting ineffective educators IS human rights issue, it’s just that the humans being wronged are the kids & families not the ineffective.”
  • “Every time a union supports an ineffective educator they hurt kids, education, teaching, our community & their credibility.”

And then there was the day that in a wild and bizarre burst of tweets, Perry hurled the following insults over the course of an hour or so…

  • “Be the person worth talking about not the clown talking about other ppl.”
  • “If your greatest contribution is the criticism of others, your life is w/o value and you will deep the poison fruit you’ve sewn.”
  • “The only person who has to get you is you. You’ve got to like you the most. If you dig you, who gives a damn what others think?”
  • “A fan is a fan, even if the only way they can show it is to spew hate. Pity them, They are weak, but they’re still a fan. Enjoy the show…”
  • “When they’re counting what’s going in your pocket, they clearly ain’t putting nothing in theirs. Man, their life must really suck.”
  • “They only ppl worrying about what you’ve got do have anything of their own. Feel bad for them, their life sucks.”
  • “It’s not up to them to decide what YOU deserve. What kind of lame thinks THEY can tell you what YOU should have…? Idiots!”
  • “Don’t EVER let anybody make you feel bad for being successful. The fact that they’re not is THEIR problem, not yours. Let THEM live w it.”
  • “We have shined the lights on those who have been responsible for forcing kids to go to failed schools & my God are they desperate to stop us.”

Disciplinary action against Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry by Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and the Hartford Board of Education is long overdue.

Tuesday’s Hartford Board of Education Executive Session about Perry is at least an important first step.

Capital Prep STILL NOT complying with Connecticut’s bullying laws

As parents and teachers are reporting, Capital Prep’s school climate is one in which child on child and workplace bullying is rampant.

Incredibly, Capital Prep remains out of compliance with the most basic requirements of Connecticut’s bullying laws, despite an official Department of Education site visit in September 2012 that led to the demand that Principal Steve Perry and Capital Prep develop and implement a Corrective Action Plan on their school climate problems.

The state Department of Education’s intervention was the result of a parent complaint had had gone unaddressed by Capital Prep administrators and Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s office for months.

Despite the Department of Education laying out the specific steps that Capital Prep would need to take to come into compliance with state laws and regulations, Capital Prep failed to provide any Corrective Action Plan on its bullying policies until October 2013, thirteen months after the site visit.

And even then Capital Prep’s plan fell short of the minimum steps needed to comply with the provisions of the law.

Now, more than a year and a half after the site visit, Capital Prep remains out of compliance when it comes to school’s nondiscrimination statement and the information provided in its employee and student handbooks.

A recent Freedom of Information request filed with the Hartford Board of Education revealed that although the State Department of Education has cc’d Superintendent Kishimoto on multiple documents related to this problem over the past year and a half Superintendent Kishimoto’s office claims that they have none of that correspondence.

While creating a safer school climate has become one of the most important issues of our time, it is truly beyond belief that Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto have failed to force Capital Prep to meet the minimum standards required of every other public school in Connecticut.

That failure becomes especially relevant when it comes to the significant number of new reports of child on child and workplace bullying that has been taking place at Capital Prep.

For the sake of the children, let alone the liability questions for those involved, you’d think that these officials would be doing a better job to ensure that students (and staff) are not the victims of bullying and abuse.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As schools scramble to get children home safe, Steve Perry Tweets about Bacon Bowls

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  The initial version of this post was inaccurate.  Although Capital Prep is part of the Hartford School System it is not on the same academic schedule as Hartford’s other schools. My original comments were based on my impression that Capital Prep, like all Hartford Schools, were dealing with an early dismissal today.

I took Steve Perry to task for Tweeting instead of handling the early closing situation.  I stand corrected thanks to information provided by “HartfordTruth,” a reader who is or is close to Mr. Perry.  I was clearly in error since it turns out that Capital Prep was closed today and I apologize for providing inaccurate information.

That said, the underlying issue remains unchanged.

Perry’s constant use of his Twitter account on public time remains a serious breach of ethics and his approach to social media completely fails to meet the ethical standards required by a principal.

Although Capital Prep was not in session today, Steve Perry, as we know, spends an inordinate amount of time Tweeting and engaged in self promotion, even on days when school is in session.

Steve Perry is the principal of Capital Prep.  With the help of Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, and Hartford Superintendent of Schools, Christina Kishimoto, Perry is trying to get the Hartford Board of Education (and the state of Connecticut) to turn Capital Prep and one other school over to Perry’s private charter school management company.

But the truth is that the role of a school principal is probably the single most important administrative position in public education.  

Today’s weather-related closing situation is a prime example.  The administrative responsibility principals are significant.  This is especially true for principals at magnet schools that must deal with complex bus schedules that need to get children home to multiple communities and principals who oversee schools with younger children since they have a particularly fundamental, even legal, obligation to ensure that no young child goes home to an empty house.

This morning, principals throughout Connecticut were working with their staff to call parents to ensure “pick-ups” were made on time and someone would be home to meet younger children.  In my town it is not uncommon for the local principal to be waiting with a couple of students long after all the other children and staff has safety gotten home.

As parents, teachers and school administrators know, early closing days are busy days for Connecticut’s school principals

But if his social media record is any indication, Dr. Steve Perry is rarely so busy with his administrative duties that he doesn’t have time to engage in meaningless Tweeting or media interviews to promote himself and his private business activities.

As we now know, Capital Prep was not in session today so we don’t really know how Perry would have handled the problem, but Perry’s approach to serving as a principal is certainly very different from that of his colleagues.

Steve Perry may have been “off-duty” but at 9:34 am this morning Steve Perry was Tweeting, “The Perfect Bacon Bowl… Really!”

His Tweet was a reference to a national advertising campaign selling “The Perfect Bacon Bowl is the newest, tastiest way to cook bacon.”

Maybe Steve Perry was watching TV instead of  catching up on work.  It turns out the Perfect Bacon Bowl ad aired on Morning Joe just a few minutes before he tweeted about it.  Other national stations also aired the ad this morning according to an industry publication.

Or maybe he was surfing the web and found the ad on YouTube: http://youtu.be/5kjujVnwZEs

Of perhaps he was just yucking it up with staff or ordering himself some of the “As Seen On TV” bacon bowls for himself at: https://www.buyperfectbacon.com/default.aspx?utm_source=Google_Non_TM&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=CPD

We may never know why Steve Perry was Tweeting about bacon bowls, but he certainly wasn’t “away” on vacation.  In fact, a  bit later in the day he turned his attention to his work, Tweeting

  1. Dr. Steve Perry ‏@DrStevePerry – “If you don’t like being told what to do, do it it before you’re told.”

    And then  Dr. Steve Perry ‏@DrStevePerry “Hardest part of supervising is getting ppl to do what they’re supposed to do when & how they’re supposed to do it w/o getting an attitude.”

But as Steve Perry’s Twitter-feed reflects, once again, he can’t seem to refrain from the self-promotion.  When not Tweeting about Bacon Bowls or employees getting “an attitude”, he moved on to his never-ending self-promotion.  This time Tweeting,

“I’m on live w Angelo Henderson in Radio WCHB radio Detroit!”

It turns out Perry was doing PR for his January 25, 2014 speech at the MGM Grand Detroit Casino Hotel where he’ll be the luncheon speaker for Delta Sigma Theta. (PS Tickets are only $65 per person)

Of course, Steve Perry’s obsessive compulsive Twitter habits are hardly new…

When Steve Perry used his Twitter account to threaten his political opponents, Matt Poland, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education called for an investigation.  But no investigation or action was ever taken.

And when it became clear that Steve Perry had spent hundreds of hours Tweeting rather than working and thereby wasted tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds as he promoted himself and his businesses enterprises…all we heard from the Hartford Superintendent and the Hartford Board of Education was silence.

What will it take for the leadership in Hartford and the Malloy administration to hold Steve Perry accountable for his actions?

By now, any other public official or public employee would have been escorted to the door.

Running an 800 student school requires real leadership, running more than one school even more.

But Steve Perry spends hours and hours Tweeting about things like bacon bowls and his many interviews aimed at publicizing the private speeches that he will be giving in the weeks ahead.

It turns out that one of Steve Perry’s books is called “Man Up!”  He claims it is autobiographical in nature.

Watching his Twitter performance today leaves one with the distinct impression that if you wanted to buy the book you’d best start by looking for it in satire or comedy section of the bookstore.

NEWS FLASH: Steve Perry’s use of private email account will not shield public’s right to know

A set of emails acquired by Wait, What? reveals that as early as November 2012, a year before the Hartford Board of Education voted to reject a secret deal to hand Capital Prep Magnet School and S.A.N.D. elementary school over to a private company created by Capital Prep Principal Perry, discussions were taking place between Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, Pryor’s top aides and Steven Perry about proposals that would allow Perry to maximize state funding and side step the existing bargaining rights of the Hartford teachers.

Furthermore, all of the emails flow through Steve Perry’s private blackberry email account rather than his Hartford Public School email account.

Connecticut State law is absolutely clear that the Freedom of Information Act requires that the public has access to all public information, even if public officials use their private email accounts to try to hide information from the public.

Even Governor Malloy’s spokesman made it clear that “FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] laws apply to the documents and correspondence relating to official business, regardless of what email system is used.

In Steve Perry’s case, dozens of emails went back and forth between officials within the Connecticut State Department of Education and Perry using Perry’s private email account.

Perry’s failure to provide the emails is a violation of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act and complaints will be filed with the Freedom of Information Commissioner and other appropriate officials.

However, far more serious is the content of the memos themselves that reveal that Steve Perry with the support of Commissioner Pryor’s top aides were engaged in a wide-ranging effort to avoid Connecticut bidding laws, maximizing revenue to Perry’s private corporate and seeking mechanism to circumvent Connecticut labor law and the collective bargaining rights of Hartford Teachers.

As early as November 30, 2012, Debra Kurshan, Pryor’s lead staff person in his “turnaround” operation and her colleague Gabrielle Ramos provided Perry with a document entitled “Capital Prep Scenario Planning.”   The document outlined options to maximize funding, avoiding having to report to the Hartford Board of Education, get out of existing collective bargaining responsibilities and other issues such as a how to deal with the Teachers Retirement System and challenges related to Perry’s unwillingness to meet state certification requirements.

The memo also makes clear that Commissioner Pryor and Capital Prep Principal Perry were already discussing giving Perry’s private company more than one Hartford Public School at least a year before the eventual deal was brought before Hartford Board of Education this past November.

Following a series of emails and calls, in late 2012, between Perry and Commissioner Pryor’s top lieutenants, Perry’s disdain for having to go through even this potentially illegal process of secret deals, skipping bidding requirements, undermining teacher contracts and identifying mechanisms to maximize funding for Perry’s company, sparked one of Perry’s now famous rants.

On December 5, 2012, using his private email account, Perry blasted Pryor’s aides saying;

“The commissioner asked me to get buy in from Dr. Kishimoto and the board to the notion of independently operating the school that we started with w/HPS, Capital Preparatory Magnet School.  I did.  Both she and members of the board are prepared to act his week so that we may open other Hartford Schools”

[…]

Though I have provided you w/multiple examples of schools and programs that have ‘changed hands’ and/or have been run independently, it appear that you do not feel that those apply here.”

[…]

“…None of the options you present reflect the conditions that were originally discussed.”

“I will inform the commissioner, Bridgeport’s mayor and Hartford’s superintendent as well as any other CT districts that your interpretation of current legislation will not allow Capital Preparatory Schools to independently operate in CT.”

Five minutes later, Debra Kurshan responded to Perry’s private email account writing;

“Steve,

I’m not sure what changed since our conversation on Friday.  I thought you were going to send me the area which would require agreement for next you and then meet with Dr. Kishimoto to work out an agreement for the next year.  I’m not clear how this prevents you from expanding.

Can we discuss today?

Debra”

To that Perry responded, “I’d love to.  What time works for you?”

Emails the follow indicate Perry’s primary outrage was related to what he perceived were the limitations on his ability to control the contract for teachers and any future collective bargaining process related to the schools he would be running.

It is also clear that in the days that followed, Perry eventually went around Pryor’s staff to Commissioner Pryor himself.

That in turn led to Debra Kurshan to respond, “Steve, I know you have been in touch with the Commissioner and we are working setting up a time for the three of us to sit down…”

That meeting apparently took place almost exactly one year ago, on December 21, 2012.

In the coming days Wait, What? will explore some of the issues contained in these emails.

Both Kurshan and Ramos have since left Commissioner Pryor’s office, but the emails and related documents raise such serious allegations about potential illegal activities that the documents will also be turned over to the State Auditors, Attorney General, Ethics Commission, Department of Labor and the Chief State Attorney’s Office so that proper independent investigations can be conducted into potential civil or even criminal violations.

The most immediate and serious questions relate to the role that Commissioner Pryor, Hartford Superintendent Kishimoto and Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry played in this gambit considering they knew or should have known that they were engaged in activities that appear to have been violating state law, as well as the policies of the State Board of Education and the policies of the Hartford Board of Education.

The fact that Perry utilized his private email account for these discussions further highlights the extent that some of these individuals appear to have made to keep the public and other public officials from knowing what was occurring.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Michele Rhee’s StudentsFirst rally to support Steve Perry; Board fails to take up Perry’s threatening tweet

At last night’s Hartford Board of Education meeting Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Hartford Board of Education Chairman Matt Poland failed to address the status of the promised investigation into Capital Prep Steve Perry’s threatening email rant or the growing controversy surrounding the Capital Prep Scholarship Fund.

Instead the meeting was dominated by a lobbying effort pushed by Michelle Rhee’s national corporate education reform group, StudentsFirst.  The goal of the effort appears to be to resurrect Steve Perry’s attempt to take over two Hartford Schools and transfer them to a private company that he owns.

The involvement of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst is an impressive indication of the corporate education reform industry’s commitment to Perry and his tactics.

Michelle Rhee is infamous for pouring tens of millions of dollars money into the local political process to try and force local officials to shift scarce public funds from their public schools to the  privatized corporate education reform model.

In Connecticut, Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst have set up a front group called GNEPSA (The Greater New England Public School Alliance).

Although it claims to be the New England Public School Alliance, the direct connection with StudentsFirst becomes obvious when looking at the organization’s Connecticut Ethics Reports, Connecticut Campaign Finance Reports and even their website – http://www.gnepsa.org/state/connecticut .

For example, Jeri Powell, who submits her testimony to the Connecticut General Assembly and authors commentary pieces by listing her title as GNEPSA’s Connecticut state director, has an official bio that reads:

“Jeri Powell has worked as a State Director for StudentsFirst since March 2011 and was the founding State Director for Florida, Georgia and Minnesota, guiding StudentsFirst’s policy efforts in those states over two legislative sessions… She currently sits on the Board of Democracy Prep Public Schools, a network of high performing charter schools based in Harlem, NY.”

Since Governor Malloy introduced the most anti-teacher, anti-union “education reform” legislation of any Democratic governor in the nation in 2012, Michelle Rhee and StudentFirst (AKA GNEPSA) has become a leading sources of money in the effort to lobby and support Malloy and his education policies.

In less than two years, GNEPSA has spent over $889,604 lobbying on behalf of Malloy’s legislation, another $150,554 in “independent” expenditures to try and influence two legislative races and hundreds of thousands in support of Mayor Bill Finch’s failed effort to do away with a democratically-elected board of education and replace it with one appointed exclusively by the mayor.

Now Rhee’s organization has apparently dived into the controversy surrounding Steve Perry and Capital Prep Magnet School by joining organizations like Achieve Hartford, Inc. and HART to try and force the Hartford Board of Education to reverse its previous action and give Perry and his private company control of Capital Prep Magnet School and at least one other Hartford elementary school.

In their propaganda and rhetoric to date, neither StudentsFirst nor their allies have explained to Hartford or Connecticut taxpayers that Perry’s plan would shift approximately $15 million a year in public funds to Perry’s company.

With no public hearing and no competitive bidding process, StudentsFirst wants the Hartford Board of Education to simply transfer the schools and the related funding to Perry with some type of “MOU” to be worked out later to determine the level of public oversight over those funds.

Despite all the controversy surrounding Capital Prep Principal Steve Perry, perhaps the single greatest indicator of what Perry is really trying to pull off can be seen by the arrival and involvement of Michelle Perry and StudentsFirst —- the leading purveyors of the modern corporate education reform industry.

Hartford and Connecticut taxpayers need to keep a special grip on their wallets if Michelle Rhee and her ilk are coming to the aid of Capital Prep’s Steve Perry.