Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve — Even If It Means Picking a Fight

by Steve Perry

(Crown, $25, 272 pages)

Who is this author?

Steve Perry, the very outspoken advocate for school reform, is an education contributor to CNN, but around here he is best known as the founder of ConnCAP, the Connecticut Collegiate Awareness Program, at Capital Community College and principal of  Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford. US News & World Report named Capital Prep as one of America’s best high schools, not least because it has sent all of its graduates, largely from the black and Latino communities, to four-year colleges.

Perry also writes a column for Essence magazine, and self-published his first book, “Man Up,” which became a hit with readers. He’s a frequent commentator on radio and TV and a motivational speaker whose prime interest is reforming America’s public schools.

What is this book about?

Perry is mad as hell and vehemently not going to take it anymore. He’s fed up with failing schools, unimaginative teachers, uncooperative unions, lazy school boards and anyone else who makes schools – urban, suburban or rural – places that warehouse but don’t teach kids to the best of their abilities. His book is a polemic, but one full of practical advice, and it is earning praise as a refreshingly blunt wake-up call to save America’s schools, students and future.

Why you’ll like it:

If you’re a parent in despair about your child’s education, you will probably like this book. If you are a teacher or part of the educational establishment, you most probably will not. But no matter which side you are on, Perry’s pronouncements should lead to spirited discussions and debates on the state of our schools and what radical or innovative methods could be tried to make them the best that they can be —  or at the very least, better than they are now.

What others are saying:

“This book is a timely addition to the debate on what’s needed to fix the public education system. Readers will appreciate Perry’s blunt, no-holds-barred, conversational tone as he aims to demystify school-based issues such as testing, accountability, what constitutes a good teacher, and teacher tenure…. Highly recommended for parents, preservice and working teachers, college students, and others who have a vested interest in the system,” says Library Journal.

“A leading agitator for reform of the American school system outlines what needs to be done now, and why. Throughout the book, the author displays an admirably action-oriented approach, with plenty of advice for parents and others on how to get involved effectively,” says Kirkus Reviews.

Bill Cosby, who will visit Hartford on Jan. 12 for a fundraiser for Capital Prep, says, “Dr. Steve Perry’s refreshing honesty and fierce work ethic have made him successful in turning very bad schools into very good schools.  This book he’s written about how to help others do the same is pure gold.”

“A stellar book…very powerful… Steve Perry, an extraordinary educator, is sick and tired of being sick and tired.  America’s public schools are broken, and the kids who are bearing the brunt are mostly poor, black or Latino.  Perry pulls no punches in showing that, while the kids fail, no one is accountable because the system protects the adults.  This book will upset some people, but that’s okay. Change doesn’t come quietly, and our kids desperately need change, says Joel Klein, a former New York City School Chancellor.

When is it available?

You can borrow it now from the Hartford Public Library.

Comments are closed.