Bridgeport · Students

The Truth About Capital Prep: African American Students Outperform Their Home District

The reality of Dr. Steve Perry’s Capital Prep is that the school is on par with Hartford’s best.

A month ago Jon Pelto published a bogus blog post that accused Perry of lying about his school’s success, claiming African American students at Capital Prep did worse than their district counterparts.

The trouble is, he didn’t actually look at the numbers.

Unfortunately, this lie spread like wildfire and was repeated by several speakers at Bridgeport’s public hearing on Capital Prep Harbor School — no doubt as a way to diminish Capital Prep’s record of success.

The truth is, Pelto’s argument is based on a misuse of performance data and is completely invalid and inaccurately — and here’s why:

As pointed out in a previous Education Bridgeport article, Pelto is making an assumption about an entire school based on one cherry-picked data point, from one single year.

He’s also comparing school performance data (SPI) to district data (DPI), which is invalid since Hartford’s DPI isn’t just calculated based on traditional neighborhood school performance.

This data includes high performing magnet schools, including Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented School; which requires students to apply for acceptance, as well as Capital Prep.

Hartford’s DPI is inflated and does not in any way reflect the ability of Hartford’s actual neighborhood schools to education African American students.

Capital Prep’s African American students actually do leaps and bounds better than their district counterparts if you compare scores by school.

For example, the SPI for Burrs School’s African American populations was 48.7, over 10 points lower than Capital Prep’s SPI. At Clark School the difference was even higher, over 15 points.

The fact is, if Pelto’s attack on Capital Prep’s performance was anything other than rhetoric masquerading as research, he’d have looked at trends over time, growth data, and the SPIs of surrounding schools.



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