Saving Our Students: Dr. Steve Perry Schools Sacramento
Black Agenda

Blog post Randy Seriguchi Jr.

If there’s one thing that Dr. Steve Perry does consistently at all his talks, it’s keeping it real.

Here’s a small example:

“If you look at the academic performance of African American students in any city, they are the same. Our students are losing. How can we expect to talk about calculus with our students if we can’t even get past reading? There’s no room for comfort in the discomfort of these circumstances.”

Mayor Johnson scored another home run speaker with bringing in Dr. Steve Perry, the charismatic, vocal principal of Capitol Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Education was the main theme of the May Indivizible meeting and we couldn’t have found a more relevant speaker.

All photos courtesy of Maria Christie Photography.

While Dr. Perry likes to mix in a little fun and humor in his talks, he is quick to remind any audience of the level of alarm we should have when looking at the state of African American student achievement.

“We’ve heard all the data, but apparently data doesn’t move us . . . [there is] no reason to send children to schools that we know have failed: would you drive your car home if there was only a 37% chance that you would get home?”

“There’s no room for comfort in the discomfort of these circumstances.”

When 4 out of 5 African American children aren’t reading on grade level by 4th grade, even reading this sentence becomes a bit uncomfortable. So now that we know where our children are academically, what can we do to improve our circumstances?

Dr. Perry’s advice: there is no silver bullet to solving the problem, but it’s imperative that we give our kids options. “You can’t say you’re [pro] children but against a particular type of school. If you’re [pro] children, you’re [pro] whatever school works for them.”

We cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results. We need a fundamental shift in the way we approach education. That means being aware of what different models look like and being supportive of change when it works–whether it’s a traditional public school, a public charter school, or a scholarship for a private school.

All photos courtesy of Maria Christie Photography.

Dr. Perry gave his message to a good blend of first-timers to Indivizible and veteran members. STAND UP for Great Schools hosted the event and brought along several key guests, including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Connecticut State Rep. Dr. Charlie Stallworth, each of whom shared their own take on the value of a high quality education.

Senator Holly Mitchell, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, and Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas represented the California Legislative Black Caucus on the day after Mother’s Day and sponsored 10 student memberships each! We want to give them a big thank you from the Indivizible family.

You definitely don’t want to miss the June 15 meeting: our featured speaker will be Dr. Ben Carson, world-renowned surgeon and a 2016 U.S. presidential candidate. Be sure to get there early to secure your seat!