Hartford · Reform

Dr. Perry v. Pelto: Comparing Hartford’s Innovative Principal to a Political Hack

In a recent raving diatribe against reason, Jonathan Pelto once again draws on his complete lack of journalistic credibility to flail madly at Dr. Steve Perry, principal and founder of Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School.

This isn’t the first time Pelto has attempted to malign Dr. Perry, using all the tools in the yellow journalist’s toolbox. Perry is so often one of Pelto’s targets that it might be useful to compare them, to juxtapose Perry and Pelto, as unfair and unkind as that may be to Dr. Perry.

On one hand, you have Perry actively helping to educate kids in Hartford, preparing them for college and 21st century jobs.

The public school model used at Perry’s Capital Prep could benefit kids in cities across the state. At Capital Prep, 97 percent of students graduate, far and away above the district graduation rate of 64.8 percent. [State Department of Education, School Performance Report,2012-2013, Capital Prep; Hartford School District]

We need models like that implemented in more of Connecticut’s urban areas. Take Bridgeport, for example. Here, we have the lowest performing large, urban district in the state, with the lowest overall performance and the highest number of low-performing schools. [State Department of Education, Performance Reports, 2012-2013]

In Bridgeport, where one in three high school students don’t earn a diploma in four years, a 97 percent graduation rate sounds pretty sweet, and Dr. Perry is proving that it’s doable. [State Department of Education, Performance Reports, Bridgeport School District, 2012-2013]

Meanwhile, on the other hand, you have Jonathan Pelto, a cowardly, washed-up politician who does nothing but take aim at those trying to help ensure that all kids have access to a high-quality education.

Jon Pelto is not a teacher. He’s not a principal. He’s not an office assistant or paraprofessional. Pelto was a state legislator back in the early ’90s. Remember when “The Cosby Show” was on network television? That’s when Jon Pelto was relevant.

More recently, he spends his time making life difficult for people like Perry. He tosses blind accusations and distorts facts, all in a vain attempt to stymie Perry’s good work. He even counts Perry’s tweets, because that’s the kind of journalist he is. The irrelevant, not-really-a-journalist kind.

A few weeks ago, when ol’ Jonny boy was putting the Pelto on Paul Vallas — another hard-working, innovative educator like Perry — he said the “cost for [Vallas’] type of plan would be expected to run about $10,000 – $12,000” to pay through June.

How did he arrive at that figure? What algorithm did the not-quite-doctor Pelto use to come up with such a high number? What sources did he speak to? What documents did he uncover?


The Connecticut Post reported that it actually would only cost the district $1,700.

Now with the actual, for-real-doctor Perry in his sights, Pelto has again randomly picked a number out of his hat. He decided that Perry has spent 150 hours on Twitter.

There are two possibilities: First, Pelto may have 24-hour surveillance on Perry, logging the amount of time it takes for the principal to send a tweet. Or, much more likely, Pelto just made it up.

You know, because.

Once you compare Pelto to his victims, it’s makes you kind of sad to read his blog. One gets the sense that he’s angry because he can’t really measure up to Perry, when it comes to real impact.

On the one hand you have Perry, who has made it his mission to break down barriers and provide a high-quality education to thousands of kids in Connecticut. He is, by all measurable criteria, succeeding in that mission.

On the other hand you have Pelto, who just makes stuff up to hurt people.



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