Jon Pelto Uses Cherry-Picked Data to Sway Opinion on Capital Prep

I wonder if the irony is lost on Mr. Pelto. Calling a principal out for “hyperbole” on your blog, when only weeks earlier you accused — with zero evidence — that very same principal of child abuse?


On Sunday, “education blogger” Jon Pelto called out Capital Prep Principal Dr. Steve Perry for inflating Capital Prep’s success. Hilariously, Pelto used his expert cherry-picking skills to present his readers with a distorted view of how poorly Capital Prep is doing.

Pelto’s argues Capital Prep isn’t any better at teaching students than district schools. Unfortunately for Pelto, Capital Prep’s overall CMT SPI proves otherwise:

Performance by Subject
Subject Capital Prep SPI Hartford DPI Bridgeport  DPI
Math 61.4 42.8 53.9
Reading 65.7 51 49
Writing 82.7 65.2 63.5
Science 74.4 52.3 48.4


Yes. Contrary to what was posted on Pelto’s blog, Capital Prep students outperformed their district peers this year in Every. Single. Subject.

Yes, the test scores of African American students who attend Capital Prep do appear to be lower than the overall district average, but that alone doesn’t give a complete picture of what’s going on at Capital Prep.

The lower SPI for African American students seems to specifically stem from low math scores. While this is not great, the silver lining is that these same students were on par with their district counterparts in both reading and writing, and did much better than the district average in science:

African American Students
Subject Capital Prep SPI Hartford DPI Bridgeport DPI
Math 48.3 55.5 50.3
Reading 60.9 58.8 47.1
Writing 71.9 72.1 62.6
Science 61 54.6 45.5


Additionally, Capital Prep’s Hispanic and Latino students are doing much better than their district peers in every subject. In some subjects, the difference in SPI to the district average is over ten points. Capital Prep students with disabilities also have higher SPI scores then the DPI average in both reading and math (data for the other subjects is not available):

Hispanic and Latino Students
Subject Capital Prep SPI Hartford DPI Bridgeport DPI
Math 59.1 48.8 53.6
Reading 59.6 46.4 47.1
Writing 74.8 62.9 61.3
Science 56.9 46.3 47.4
Students with Disabilities
Subject Capital Prep SPI Hartford DPI Bridgeport DPI
Math 35.4 30.5 28.7
Reading 31.6 30.8 27.7


Pelto, of course, failed to mention these other sub-groups of students. I mean, why report information that doesn’t support your pre-determined argument. Amirite?

If you take all this into consideration, plus the fact that Capital Prep has a 97 percent graduation rate (95 percent for African American students) in a city which suffers from a 64 percent overall graduation rate — Capital Prep is actually doing a fantastic job!



Information for this article was gathered using the State Department of Education’s School Performance Reports database

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