May 14th, 2012
03:34 PM ET

Charter schools: Segregation or choice?

from Starting Point

(CNN) More than 2 million kids are enrolled in charter schools, 32% of which are African American – and of that 32%, more that half attend schools comprised mostly of minority students. This morning, CNN education contributor Steve Perry explains the lack of diversity, saying "We had to convince white people to come to a very good school in the hood."

Perry is the founder of charter school Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, CT. The demographic of his school has, in the past, been primarily black, poor students–until they were given a quota to provide some semblance of balance. Perry explained the reasoning for the so-called "segregation."

"The children who are typically choosing charter schools are the children who don't have the best education options in the nearby neighborhood, which in many cases are people of color and/or low-income students. They choose the schools they feel are going to give the best opportunity to fulfill what they believe is their true potential. So, many of those families choose charter schools and overwhelmingly they are people of color," he says.

But, he vehemently refutes the segregation claim, saying there is a fundamental difference between choice and segregation.

May 8th, 2012
06:23 AM ET

Milken Award-winning teacher changes lives despite lack of resources

by Tamara Wilson, CNN

(CNN) At a time when many talk about what’s “wrong” with education, there are many talented teachers making a positive impact in our schools.

A great example of an educator who’s making such an impact is Shekema Silveri. She is an Advanced Placement (AP) English teacher in room 110 at Mount Zion High School in Jonesboro, Georgia. Silveri says she loves her students and gives them her best every day. Her students feel the same way about her – some even call her Momma.

Silveri allows ANY student to sign up for her class. There are no requirements, but she says students have to be up for the challenge. She builds confidence in her kids by having them justify their perspectives and evaluate their reasoning, while at the same time teaching them the importance of getting an education.

Mount Zion Senior Jeffrey Wallace had this to say, “We take a look at every aspect of how many great contributions we've made to America and the world as a whole, as opposed to being inside an AP U. S. history class where we predominantly talk about European history, I think it's awesome that I come inside an AP literature class and get the whole lesson that includes African American history. I believe this is great for my self confidence.”

Mount Zion is a Title I high school where you won’t find the latest technology. This forced Silveri to find creative ways to keep her students engaged. While some classrooms don’t allow cell phones, Silveri encourages her students to use them. The students look up definitions for the word of day with apps like and conduct research for assignments on their phones. She also believes they write more when communicating via blog and Twitter. The high school teacher integrates other multimedia into her lessons by having her students give PowerPoint presentations along with shooting and editing video.

May 7th, 2012
03:28 PM ET

Harvard and MIT offer free online classes

Steve Perry explains why he thinks that the MIT and Harvard's "edX" online education program is "revolutionary."

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Filed under: Perry's Principles • Technology • video • Voices
May 1st, 2012
01:38 PM ET

Surveillance in the classroom?

CNN education contributor Steve Perry says educators should better police themselves in the classroom.

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Filed under: Autism • Behavior • Perry's Principles • Practice • Teachers
April 30th, 2012
01:11 PM ET

Boyz II Men singer Shawn Stockman on the impact of autism

Shawn Stockman of the group Boyz II Men opens up about one of his twin sons who has autism, and autism's impact on his family.

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Filed under: At Home • Autism • Kids' health • Perry's Principles • Practice • video
April 23rd, 2012
03:32 PM ET

The push for longer school days

Steve Perry talks about why he is in favor of longer school days, as long as the actual education is improved, too.

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Filed under: Perry's Principles • video • Voices
April 2nd, 2012
04:45 PM ET

Perry's Priniciples: Detroit kids walkout shows students want a good education

CNN education contributor Steve Perry on Detroit students walking out of a school called one of the worst in the U.S.

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Filed under: Perry's Principles • Policy • Voices
March 26th, 2012
11:37 AM ET

Miami students walk out for Trayvon Martin

Steve Perry explains why he thinks that the Trayvon Martin shooting is a "teachable moment" for American students.

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Filed under: Character education • Issues • On air • Perry's Principles • Policy • video
March 19th, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Why are dropout rates so high?

CNN education contributor Steve Perry tells Soledad that dropouts "just don't fit in the school that they're in."

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Filed under: Attrition • High school • On air • Perry's Principles • Practice • video
February 27th, 2012
02:43 PM ET

Perry's Principles: Charter schools

CNN Education Contributor Steve Perry gives some helpful advice to parents looking for a charter school for their child.

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Filed under: Charter schools • Perry's Principles • Policy • video
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