By John Jason Francis, Staff Writer—
On Jan. 24, Education Speaker and Founder of Capital Prep Schools Dr. Steve Perry gave a keynote address during MLK Day 2020 at UTC.
Dr. Perry is known for his advocacy of Charter Schools and school choice. He is also the host of his own syndicated television talk-show.
He travels the country to raise awareness of the disparity between poor minority school districts and other well-funded districts.
Perry spoke about the case of a school district in rural parts of the south, where only 5% of the students in the underserved and underfunded district could read at grade level.
While just 28 feet away, the higher funded school district had a percentage of students reading at grade levels that were more in line with national averages, he said.
Dr. Perry, having been born into third generational poverty himself, said that he understands the struggles these students face on a day to day basis.
He has developed techniques to reach out and connect with the students in his schools. It is about being there for the students, letting them know you can be relied on, he said.
According to Perry, In many cases, students come from homes that are less than stable.
“A school should be so good, that you cannot tell who the child’s parents are, or what background they come from,” Perry quoted from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s book “Community of Chaos.”
School choice and Charter Schools are a major focus for Dr. Perry. He believes that parents should be able to choose where they send their children to school, he said.
In order to tackle the problems we face, whether it be education or any important issue, we must come together in common cause, Perry said.
Dr. Perry stressed that the education of our youth, no matter their socioeconomic background, must be our top priority.
“Teaching to me is the single greatest act of defiance because every single day you are encouraging children to snap reality in half,” Perry said. “You are asking them to dream beyond anything that has even been dreamed, you are telling them the impossible is possible.”