Education conversation hits campus

Dr. Steve Perry, noted educator and best-selling author speaks at Memorial Hall on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Taylor Pence

By Kevin Erpenbeck

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With a stage to patrol and a platform to speak on, educator and author Dr. Steve Perry shared his views of the country’s current education system to a crowd in Memorial Hall on Tuesday.

Perry is the founder and principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn. Perry started the school in 2005 and has helped lead it to posting above-average test scores. According to the school’s website, Capital Prep has sent all of its graduating students to a four-year college program since 2006.

Before Perry spoke to the crowd, Lexington 1st District Councilman Chris Ford presented Perry with an award for accomplishments in education from Mayor Jim Gray. The documentation said that March 10, 2015 would be known as “Dr. Steve Perry Day.”

One of the issues that Perry addressed during his speech was parents and teachers who are not invested in children’s active education. Perry said that today’s generation is “cluttered with kids getting participation trophies.”

He later referenced the undefeated UK Basketball team as a measuring stick of what it takes to be great in a specific field by applying the work that is required to do so.

“Every time we send a child to a school that we know has failed them, we are failing that child,” Perry said. “We want our children to exceed expectations and stop being average, but how can they do that if we are not actively involved in helping them achieve that goal?”

Perry also spoke about state district requirements that make children attend the school in the closest proximity to their homes, calling the requirement “archaic.”

“It’s the most useless method for determining the best school for a child,” Perry added. “And it’s not because the tax dollars can’t support those out-of-district kids to attend their desired schools, it’s because of racism. They want to keep the kids that are the most like each other in the same group. It’s ridiculous. If resources were truly the problem, then the best place to send our kids would be prison.”

David Shepard, a three-time graduate of UK, agreed that the education system needs to implement a more proactive method to help kids get through school and graduate in a reasonable time frame.

“Parents need to be parents, teachers need to be teachers,” Shepard said. “You can’t do anything without the groups working together. Schools have to change so that they can serve the people they’re supposed to serve: kids.”