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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, June 15, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesRenowned Educator Gives Frank Appraisal of V.I. Education System

Renowned Educator Gives Frank Appraisal of V.I. Education System

Steve Perry had harsh words for both teachers' unions and failing teachers.Nationally known educator, author and speaker Steve Perry touched more than a few nerves Thursday night when he spoke at the University of the Virgin Islands as part of the Alfred O. Heath Distinguished Lecture Series.
He spoke passionately about education, about keeping children the main focus, and the importance of weeding out teachers and administrators who are not effectively reaching children.
Perry, who’s gained national notoriety with appearances on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, is the founder and principal of Capitol Preparatory Magnet School in Connecticut. The school was named one of America’s best high schools by US News and World report.
He said his school has been successful because he is fiercely protective of children and has no use for educators who are not doing their job.
“Every single body that stands in the way of success is my enemy,” he told the crowd of elementary-school aged children, parents, teachers and administrators.
He said he didn’t plan on mincing words because the minds and hearts of children are at stake. “My objective is to walk around the room and step on as many toes as I can.”
Perry was critical of both parents and school officials, but he cracked down the hardest on the latter.
“Your schools should be amazing!” Perry exclaimed, saying that the territory spends $240 million a year on education. And yet, he said “I don’t feel that you feel the investment is giving you what you want.”
He told parents that if they are not happy with the education system they have, they should do everything in their power to change it. He told teachers that if they didn’t like their jobs, find something else to do.
“If Monday is the worst day of the week and Friday is the best — this coming Monday, stay your behind home! You are hurting people,” he said.
His calls for change and progress were met with nods and applause.
During a question-and-answer period, one woman began her comments at her seat and kept talking as she made her way down to the front of the stage.
“In the V.I., we lay back too much,” she said. She told Perry that school administrators don’t care about the children in public schools–and that their own children are in private schools.
During that same period, a high school girl told Perry that she didn’t believe students had a voice, which makes them feel disconnected from the educational process.
The president of the American Federation of Teachers told Perry that despite the harsh words he had in speech for unions – he said they were more to make adults happy than children – her group would not be going anywhere.”
Calling the woman’s statements arrogant, Perry said, “I am not comfortable with any entity that says we are going to be there no matter what.”
Another woman, a teacher, questioned Perry’s earlier statements that if a teacher noticed another teacher was not doing his or her job well, that teacher should be reported.
“Are you documenting them?” he asked. “If you are not, you are a co-conspirator."

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