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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Steve Perry Is Awesomer Than You!

Just ask him:
At the tip of the educational iceberg, Perry believes that Gov. Scott Walker's move to break up unions - including the state teachers union - will improve educational outcomes for all children. I'm sure that statement just sent shivers up the spine of most educators in Wisconsin, especially when you consider that Walker also cut $800 million from public education budgets. But Perry's tell-it-like-it-is approach is refreshing.
"Before you say Walker cut $800 million, you first have to ask yourself if it was actually a cut or did he just not have it," Perry said.
"Your state is broke, and I don't know where he was going to get the money from. If we really want to get things done educationally, other governors should follow Walker's lead," Perry said. "There is nothing in any teachers union contract that goes toward improving education; at best, it sustains it."
First of all, Steve, Wisconsin could get the money - they just don't take it from the people who have it:

Imagine how much more the state would rake in if the top 5% paid the same rate as the bottom 50%. And the state is expanding tax cuts for the wealthy even as they already give a 30% exemption on capital gains. Contrary to what Paul Ryan tells his constituents, the wealthy are under-taxed in this country. How about bringing all this up once in a while, Steve?

Second: if you knew anything about school finance and student achievement, you'd know the two were locked together. You can't serve kids without spending money; anyone who tells you otherwise is selling you a myth.

But then, that's what Perry does best:
Capital Preparatory Magnet School is considered one of the best high schools in the nation with a zero dropout rate. It has sent 100% of its seniors, who are mostly low- income, minority, first-generation high school graduates, to four-year colleges every year since 2004.
Hartford is similar to Milwaukee in that it has one of the lowest-performing districts in Connecticut, and the state has one of the largest achievement gaps between black and white students in the nation. Perry's school is no different from any of the other successful schools in the country in that it stresses high expectations for everyone and high accountability. [emphasis mine]
Capital Prep may be no different that other "successful" schools, but it's very different from the schools in Hartford when it comes to student population:

Look at that: Perry's school serves less than half as many kids living in poverty than the neighboring public schools. It's ridiculous to pretend that Perry has some secret formula for success without mentioning this salient fact. Capital Prep also serves far fewer kids who have disabilities or speak a language other than English at home.

And as for that dropout rate: if a kid transfers from Capital Prep back to a neighborhood school, is that counted against Perry as a dropout or a transfer? In Chicago, Nobel Charter claims a low dropout rate, but that's because the kids who are ushered out the door wind up in a public school, so it's considered a transfer. Is Perry playing the same game here?

In spite of all this, Perry loves to jet around the country and pop up on the TV, spewing invective against teachers unions and accusing anyone who calls him out of being a racist:
Saying that a child can't learn because he or she is black, Hispanic, poor or comes from a single-parent home is racist, Perry said. I'd have to agree with that.
And this: If schools demand the best out of their kids, chances are they will get the best.
If Perry is so damn sure of himself, why doesn't he take the same kids into Capital Prep as the schools down the street? Why waste time accusing everyone else of racism, or classism; why not just prove what you're saying, Steve?

I am getting so sick and tired of this nonsense. Charisma and egomania are in large supply in the reformy movement; we have many folks running around who claim to have all the answers. But when you look carefully, too often all you find is a lot of hot air. It's frustrating enough that these people spout the nonsense that they do; what's worse is that the media keeps giving them a platform to do so without the slightest bit of incredulity.

When will they learn to start challenging some of these people?


Deb said...

So glad you came back to this. Perry needs to be called out along with bunches of others like him. If they really did have the answers wouldn't they be offering these solutions to everyone and we would be on education easy street!? But they cannot do it and we know why. So keep calling him and his ilk out on the lies and subterfuge. Thank You!!!

Unknown said...

Perry is nothing more than the Creflo Dollar of education. Perry makes the claims that he does without stating all the facts or knowingly leaving out statistical things about Capital Prep that would tarnish not the school or its students, but himself for blatantly twisting the numbers and facts.. thats a snake oil salesman.