P. Diddy's Charter School in East Harlem Opens Up, Draws Immediate Flack

Capital Prep's operator doesn't like teachers unions, so teachers don't like him.


Charter schools are in the news, what with HBO's John Oliver slagging them on Last Week Tonight as hotbeds of criminal behavior and thievery (alas, he would have done better to turn his ironic gaze to principals in Detroit's traditional public-school system).

One New York charter that's just opened is connected with music mogul P. Diddy, who cut the ribbon at East Harlem's Capital Prep this week:

"I want Harlem to have the best schools," Diddy read. "The best of everything," he added, in an address about ten minutes long….

Diddy largely kept to a script, except when he told students directly from the lectern to do their homework and to get excited about work in class.

The other off-script exception was when PIX11 was able to get close enough to him after the ceremony to ask how he really feels about six years of planning a school finally coming to fruition.

"Instead of me complaining about education," he said, "I want to do something about it. So that's why I'm starting this school."

Read more from WPIX here.

The day-to-day operations of Capital Prep are handled by Steve Perry, a controversial educator whose schools in Hartford, Connecticut were both successful and highly criticized. Perry's Capital Prep in Hartford started as a charter and then morphed into a traditional magnet school. Critics say while it's true that Capital Prep sent 100 percent of its mostly lower-income graduates to college, there was an attrition rate of 35 percent between sixth grade and senior year. But perhaps it's Perry's outspoken views about teachers unions that really get under people's skin. Here he is, quoted disapprovingly in a 2013 Washington Post story:

"I know in polite company, you're not supposed to talk about the unions," Perry said. "But I will. I know you're here. I hope you hear me, because I'm tired of you. Every time you fight to keep a failed teacher in a school, you're killing children, and that's not cool.

"Every single time you make a job harder to remove someone who is simply not educating, and everybody in the building knows they're not educating, you're killing your profession, you're killing our community and you're making it harder on yourselves.

"It's high time we call the roaches out and call them for what they are. I've been to too many cities where the excuses pile up, one on top of the other. You know what happens with those excuses? They kill our kids."

Elsewhere, the Huffington Post says that both Diddy and Perry have anger issues, so they are perfect together.

And yet, the New York school that just opened seems to be doing something right. WPIX reports that one of the school's new students is sixth grader Cameron Louis, whose mother is sending him there despite a long daily roundtrip:

He has a commute of 20 miles a day from Queens Village, near the Nassau County line.

Louis's mother said she's optimistic that the commute is worth it, as is the time she put in to deciding to come to Captial Prep Harlem in the first place.

"I listed my pros and my cons," she said in an interview after the first day of classes, "and there were a lot of cons because of the distance, but I thought why not try it?"

"I love my son, and would do anything that's best for him, so I thought, 'I'm gonna give it a shot.'"

There is no question that charter schools, which operate with about one-third less public money per student than traditional public schools but are freed from many regulations and rules, fail on a regular basis. And so Capital Prep may well hit the skids. But failure isn't what defines charters vs. traditional public schools. After all, public schools fail all the time, too. The difference is that when charters fail, they close down. Students and their parents leave and go elsewhere. Traditional public schools, in contrast, often stay open indefinitely and even often get extra funding to address their deficiencies.

Charters expand the choices of parents, especially lower-income parents in cities. And in strict, randomized control trials that compare similarly situated students, there is an abundance of evidence showing that charters reduce gaps in learning between white and black students. Diddy's school, which joins charters operated by celebrities ranging from rapper Pitbull in Florida to tennis great Andre Agassi to Mark Zuckerberg in New Jersey to Oprah Winfrey in several states, may or may not succeed. But as long as it's open, it's creating more choice for at least a few hundred kids.

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  1. P. Diddy’s Charter School in East Harlem Opens Up, Draws Immediate Flack

    Is it because he only cares about students named Benjamin?

    1. Roberta, fool!

    2. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour… This is what I do


  2. Capital Prep’s operator doesn’t like teachers unions, so teachers done’t like him.

    Who doesn’t like donets?

    1. Russians in Ukraine?

      Don River Cossacks?

  3. Teacher’s unions are pure evil. That is all.

  4. The day-to-day operations of Capital Prep are handled by Steve Perry,

    He welcomed P.Diddy’s project with open arms, saying “any way he wants it, that’s the way he needs it”, adding that people should not stop believing in charter schools as a viable solution to urban-education’s woes.

    1. His school will crack down on the teachers’ loving, touching and squeezing of students.

      1. Only the young may attend, who Perry happily greets with open arms while the teachers’ unions go their separate ways. Meanwhile, who’s crying now? Why an unfortuante child stuck in public school — but girl can’t help it, they can’t even keep the lights on there.

  5. Charters recieve tax money therefore as a libertarian I must oppose them.

    1. Where exactly did you get your copy of “Libertarianism for Retards“?

      1. The LRC store?

  6. I presume charter schools do not have unionized teachers?

    1. And we have a winner. I have a number of DerpBook friends that are union educators and they are universally against charter school, for a laundry list of the normal fallacious reasons (taking resources away from public schools, poorly run charters are poorly run, etc.). Of course, when you distill these reasons down it all comes down to the fact that they erode union power.

    2. They aren’t required to AFAIK but they could if they so chose. Same with private schools.

  7. Diddy will open the school each morning on one condition: the students have to walk uptown to the Bronx and procure some breast milk from a Cambodian immigrant. Diddy only drinks the finest breast milks. Breast milk makes his day.

  8. Is this the school where P Diddy teaches them kids howta ball?

  9. Well, this is going to certain grind John Oliver’s gears!

    1. Someone should ask why he is such a RACIST!

      1. He wants to save black folk from their own decisions, and you want to just let them continue making the bad decisions. Who’s really the racist, Hitler?

  10. That’s a nice school you’ve got there, it’d be a shame if someone were to, oh I don’t know, unionize it,

  11. “Controversial”? It is to laugh.

    He has a commute of 20 miles a day from Queens Village

    Meh – this is routine in other countries (such as Germany) that practice more school choice than we do in the US.

    1. He just takes the midnight train going any-neh where.

      /sorry Gilly

    2. You know what other German believed in alternative education?

      1. Education makes you free!

      2. Who cares? Germany invented the ‘expert top men progressive’ formula. I think they’ve done enough thank you very much.

      3. Too bad Rudolf Steiner was Austrian, so he won’t qualify as an answer.

  12. You expect brain dead progressives to take that chart seriously?

  13. Somebody should learn the difference between “FLAK” and “flack”.

  14. RE: P. Diddy’s Charter School in East Harlem Opens Up, Draws Immediate Flack
    Capital Prep’s operator doesn’t like teachers unions, so teachers don’t like him.

    How dare P. Diddy establish a charter school in East Harlem! Doesn’t he realize the little people living in this area have the finest baby-sitters posing as teachers? Doesn’t he realize he is in direct violation of Comrade DeBlasio’s judicious diktats of sending the offspring of the unenlightened to inferior schools? Doesn’t P. Diddy realize that private schools are for the ruling elitist filth and their cronies children only? Doesn’t he realize that public schools always out-perform private schools? One only has to look at the success the Washington, DC, Detroit and other bastions of superior public schools to find why parents fall all over themselves to send their kids to public instead of private schools. Who wouldn’t want to send their kids to public schools where they can have incompetent and/or lazy teachers ignoring their children’s educational needs? Who wouldn’t want to send their offspring to public schools that are not held accountable. Who wouldn’t want to send their kids to a public school system where children end up illiterate but feel good about themselves? All P. Diddy has to do is open his eyes and marvel at the magnificent results public education has achieved in East Harlem, and he would realize his horrible mistake has made by starting a charter school there.

  15. Eh, it will probably just be a remix of better schools.

  16. The dirty little truth that is always missed in this is that many of the problems American schools have stem from the attempt to push everyone into a liberal arts college preparatory path. If we insisted in achieving a basic competency in the old fashioned 3-R’s in grammar school, and then used the middle school years for figuring out who is best served with our current high schools and who should start job training right then, we would waste far fewer resources.

    Charter schools are great, but they do have the luxury of being selective in which students they accept, whereas the public schools have to take all comers, even those who are actively resisting being there.

  17. No matter what reputation the school has it has the chance to be the greatest. The strength of the school lies in its students and teachers, so if somebody decides that their school is the best, they should do their best to make sure the school provides with relevant knowledge and enough experience to face the real world. The school, to my belief, should be equipped with the latest technologies, allowing students to look for top essay writer from UK and take their education in their own hands.

  18. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour… This is what I do


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