Your Black World Reports:
Dr. Steve Perry could care less about hurting any adult's feelings --- and that includes teachers, unions, and even the President of the United States.
In an in-depth interview with The Root.com, Perry, CNN education contributor and author of the book, Man Up! Nobody is Coming to Save Us, slams unions for their stranglehold on the education industry, chastises teachers for not performing at a higher standard, and says that based on his experience as founder of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut---which sends 100 percent of its mostly black and Latino students to four-year colleges---poverty and parental involvement often times can not be controlled, but what a student learns in the classroom can:
"There's no evidence to prove that a child who's poor can't be educated at the same level as someone else," says Perry. "There's no proof that any family factors make a child harder to educate. As I look out the window of my school and see a liquor store and a thrift store, we know that we don't get to pick from where the children come. We just have to focus on getting them to where they need to be. Education is the single most effective method of removing poverty from the family experience. Education is the antidote, and great teachers are the syringe through which the antidote is delivered."
In addition to taking the unions to task --- "[The teachers' union] is a privately run organization. They control American public education. They control the length of the school year and school days, how much people get paid, when they get vacation days and how we can evaluate them. They control the entire industry." --- Perry holds no punches when it comes to his critique of President Barack Obama's take on public school education:
"[Obama] and all those other Democrats don't send their kids to those same schools that they want to be patient about. The way I look at it is, at the end of the day, I'm a father. And if it's not good enough for my two sons, then it's not good enough for anybody's son.
It would be really hypocritical for me to stand in front of my community and extol the virtues of local neighborhood schools as I put mine in a car and send them the other way. The president hasn't always been president -- and from the day he became a dad, he damn sure didn't send his kids to a local public school. How do you stand up for something that you don't even use?"
Dr. Perry further contends that our college education system is based on vouchers in the form of federal loans and grants, and that no one calls it a failing system:
"I want children to go to the best school -- not keep a school open simply because it employs people. Closing failing schools is the best thing we can do. Children are not learning in them. Would you keep a hospital open that had a 29 percent mortality rate? No. But we keep schools open that have a 29 percent graduation rate."
In addition to his contributions to CNN, Dr. Perry has also appeared on FOX and MSNBC. His latest book, Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve -- Even If It Means Picking a Fight, is on bookshelves now.