It looks like John Legend isn’t the only pop star who’s interested in education reform. Cuban-American rapper Pitbull is set to open his own charter school in the Miami neighborhood in which he grew up. The school is called Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM) and will be run by a non-profit called Mater Academy and Academia, a large for-profit company that’s taken a good deal of criticism for its school reform practices.
Still, it’s a worthy investment, according to Pitbull.
“The simple fact is that teachers have changed my life. I had a second grade teacher that taught me that yeah, there is a way out…and I had an eleventh grade teacher who taught me to believe in myself…and that’s the same thing I want to do with the kids,” Pitbull told the Washington Post.
Latinos make up the fastest growing demographic in the United States; there are an estimated 50 million currently living in the country and more than 12 million are enrolled in K-12 schools. Yet nearly half of Latino students drop out of high school before earning a high school diploma.
Increasingly, Latino students are enrolling in charter schools. In 2011, George Washington University’s Face the Facts initiative found that 26 percent of Latino students were enrolled in charter school. That hasn’t stopped criticism that charter schools — which are publicly financed but privately operated.