I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Reformy Dr. Steve Perry Show - Part II

When we last left Dr. Steve Perry, he was tweeting like a madman at teacher-bloggers who dared to question his orthodoxies:
I'm not sure if you can see the level of insanity of some of these folks' tweets & they claim to be TEACHERS. Imagine them in class tomorrow
I'm forced to ask myself why I'm wasting time w/ ppl who have no interest in our kids' success. My only answer is that our kids need it.  
We are winning. We're exposing how they don't love our kids. Their venom bubbles as the hate heats them. We MUST keep fighting for our kids. 
My heart sincerely goes out to the children forced to be in classes infected w/ ppl more interested in adults' jobs than kids' rights. 
They ask about our performance. 2011 - 97% prof in writing, 100% grad & 100% 4 yr college. They say it's bc we have the RIGHT kids. Coding.
 Whoa, stop right there! "Coding"?
They say it's bc we kick WRONG kids out. When I say only 2 of 525 will be asked to leave, they'll doubt it. No faith in our kids. Coding. 
Oo! These "liberals" HATE to have the racism of their arguments brought to the fore. Help them, they're meltiiinnnng... 
These same unions fight to keep schools open w/ a 14% grad rate by convincing us that the staff are the victims not the 84% who drop out.
Ah, there it is: like so many other corporate reformers, Dr. Steve is quick to brand those who don't cotton to his union bashing as racists. He's particularly blatant here; others are more subtle. But it really comes down to the same thing: if you make the case that poverty is keeping kids down far more than teachers unions ever could, you obviously are burdening our kids with lowered expectations.

And what's the proof that things like poverty don't matter? Why, places like Capital Preparatory Magnet School - Dr. Steve Perry's school, of course! He's kicking ass and taking names, and he's doing it with poor kids! He's the proof that you just have to be as talented and as committed and as handsome and as telegenic at Dr. Steve to overcome all of the problems that society has placed in front of these children!

And it must be true, because he's teaching exactly the same kind of kids who are failing elsewhere!

Isn't he? Let's find out:

From the NCES's Common Core of Data, here are the high schools that serve the students of Hartford, CT. Capital (misspelled in the CCD data) is in green; the other magnets (as defined in the CCD) are in red. This shows the percentage of kids at each school who are eligible for free lunch, the best way we have to determine student poverty.

Now, let's be fair: 45% is a lot of kids living in poverty. But it's less than half of most of the other high schools in Hartford. Is there anyone reading this who doesn't believe that this affects student achievement - for both the poor and the non-poor kids?

How about students with disabilities? I had to go to the Connecticut State Department of Education for this data:

Quite a difference in populations. It's a lot easier to get all of your students into four-year colleges when so few of them have disabilities. How about English language learners?

That might help your writing scores a little, huh?

I've done this sort of analysis before, and I always make of point of saying the following: without a doubt, I am sure that Capital is a fine school. The students there are obviously doing great work, and they should be proud of their achievements. I'm positive the staff at Capital is extremely dedicated, and I'm even willing to concede that Steve Perry may well indeed be a great principal.

But here's the thing: he's got a hell of a lot of nerve bad-mouthing "failing" schools and "failing" teachers when he clearly owes at least some of his success to teaching a different student population than the schools around him.

If the superintendent of New Canaan's schools - the richest town in Connecticut - walked around bragging about the superiority of his schools compared to Hartford's, we would all find him to be totally obnoxious. If he claimed he had the answers to education's ills, and that he had the right to pontificate because of his success, we would rightly shun him. And would he ever be granted a regular platform on national television to spout off about the evils of teachers unions?

No, he would not. More soon...


Unknown said...

Don't you see what's happening? No amount of data will change public opinions once our characters have been discredited with smear tactics Character assaults shut down and invalidate ALL of our rebuttals. Perry the bully is attacking our values. Teachers are the lying, self-interested frauds- not he and his lying, wall street investors.

Sociopaths- all of them and they're using poor kids to leverage their arguments and brand teachers as racists, greedy, ungrateful, parasites.

Anonymous said...


Jazzman, this is up next. Besides what they are doing now, they will also eventually corrupt our science teaching. The Heartland Institute is a player and, I'd bet, a subscriber to ALEC legislation. I must wonder if Perry will use this 'revised' curriculum, too.

Tom Hoffman said...

Incidentally, are those free lunch numbers or free and reduced?

Duke said...

Great question, Tom. Just free lunch - not reduced. I've been advised by none other than Bruce Baker that Free Lunch gives a more accurate picture of real poverty in a district.

But, in the case of Hartford, there's scant little difference between the two. Look at those non-magnet high schools: it's almost ALL free lunch by the CCD numbers - very little reduced.

Again: I'm not saying Capital doesn't have poor kids. They have a lot. It's just not as many as the surrounding high schools. For Perry to claim success without acknowledging that is disingenuous at best.

I'll try to run reduced lunch number later this week. Thx for posting.

Rob Galgano said...

Shorter Steve Perry:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me! Neener neener! My school is better than yours!"

What an insecure douchenozzle.

Keep fightin' the good fight, Duke!

Anonymous said...


Dailykos diary about Steve visiting a public school

Tom Hoffman said...

OK, you inspired me: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2012/02/first-d3-graphic.html

Duke said...

Tom, that's cool. Tweeting now...

Unknown said...

Put this phony in charge of one of the "regular" schools and lets see how he does........even with Charter school rules. I'd LOVE to see that!