Entrepreneur Steve Perry opened a charter chain called Capital Preparatory Schools, which recently was a finalist for the Yass Prize, which acknowledges outstanding charter schools. The chain won a prize of $500,000, which it will use to expand. The first-place winner was Arizona Autism Charter Schools, which won $1 million. The Yass Prize is called a STOP award, meaning Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding, and Permissionless.

On the federal government website for charter schools, the Yass prize is described thus:

The mission of the STOP Awards is to identify and support more best in class education providers who can tackle the challenges and deliver an education for students that is Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless. The STOP Foundation for Education is not just a philanthropy. And the STOP Award is not just a prize. It’s a movement intended to transform education for everyone. Complete the online application form.

The prize is administered by the Center for Education Reform of Washington, D.C., which supports charter schools, vouchers, and virtual charters, and opposes public schools.

Capital Prep operates in New York City and Connecticut. Its schools were recognized for providing outstanding education, and because 100% of its graduates were accepted at four-year colleges and universities since 2006. Its school in Harlem was co-founded by musician Sean Combs, also known as P. Diddy.

Gary Rubinstein has a history of examining charter schools that claim miraculous results. He took a close look at the Capital Prep Schools and learned from state data that they are actually low-performing schools. Please open the link to see his documentation.

He writes:

The 100% college acceptance graduation rate….implies that the students at the school have been successful in their academics. So I thought I’d go to the public New York State data site to see if this is the case.

In general, the test scores at the Perry / P. Diddy school are some of the lowest in the city. Most notable is that in their 8th grade class of 71 students, exactly 1 scored a passing score of a 3 on the recent state tests…[Scores range from 1-5].

School wide, only 6% of the students in all grades got a 3 on the math state test.

For the older grades, I see that no students passed the Geometry or the Algebra II Regents exams.

Now I’m not saying that test scores are everything, but when only 1 out of 71 8th graders gets a 3 on the state test, this definitely runs counter to the image that the 100% college acceptance rate is supposed to indicate.

The New York Capital Prep schools have only been open for a few years, but the Connecticut Capital Prep schools have been around for over 15 years. So I also looked at the Connecticut publicly available data, which has a lot of useful information on it.

One thing I found was that their Four-Year graduation rate has been as low as 56% in recent years…

On the college readiness index, the school fared very poorly…

The college entrance rate for 2020 was not 100% but about 77%

That school also had 0% passing an AP exam even though 38% took an AP exam…

So anytime you see a claim that some school is beating the odds because they have a 100% college acceptance rate, you should know that there is usually more to the story than that one statistic.

Again, open the link.