Charter schools are public schools that serve the unique needs of children nationwide and give parents a choice in their child’s public education. In 2022, some of your favorite celebrities showed their support for charter schools in a major way.
From helping to open a schools, increasing school or student resources, or imparting their wisdom, celebrities have helped many more students gain access to high-quality public schools and memories that will last them a lifetime.
Celebrities Grew High-Quality Public School Options
Parents of school-aged children declared they want more public school options (see our report, Never Going Back: An Analysis of Parent Sentiment on Education). Some of the most influential figures proved they were personally up for the task.
In August, rapper Pitbull opened SLAM Arizona, a charter school serving grades K-5. SLAM stands for Sports Leadership, Arts, and Medicine. The curriculum focuses on STEM and sports education in the fields of marketing, medicine, and production. More than 70% of enrolled students come from underserved communities. The school plans to add 6th grade during the 2023-24 school year.
In Tennessee, tennis champion and Olympic gold medalist, Andre Agassi helped open Rocketship Dream Community Prep in August through the Turner Agassi Education Facilities Fund. Rocket Dream Community Prep serves grades K-4 with an emphasis on mathematics, literacy, music, and science. The school is very big on parent power—and holds intentional space for parents to be heard.
Philanthropists Funded Students’ Futures
In April, the former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg led support for the Summer Boost program. The program is aimed at helping 25,000 students in grades K-8 and decrease the learning gap caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The $50 million project is funded through Bloomberg Philanthropies and additional partners.
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated millions of dollars to multiple charter schools in November. Two of these schools are apart of public charter school networks in Chicago. Scott donated $16 million to the Noble Network of Charter Schools, which serves more than 12,700 students, that will be used to strengthen the school’s mission to “ensure all students have equitable and positive school experiences that equip them to complete college and lead choice-filled lives.” Another $7 million went to the LEARN Charter School Network, which serves more than 4,000 students, and will be used to support math and science programs.
Big Names Led to Unforgettable School Experiences
In October, rapper and business mogul P. Diddy surprised students at Capital Preparatory Bronx Charter School in New York, the school he helped fund back in 2016. Diddy showed up to the school to share words of encouragement and get them pumped for the school year. Capital Preparatory Bronx Charter School serves grades 6-10.
In December, Emmy Award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown traveled to The Lift for Life Academy in St. Louis and spoke during a fundraiser at the school. The school is looking to build a theater for students and the local community. The students performed Raisin in the Sun in front of Sterling and potential funders.
These stories of celebrity school visits, along with the other supportive acts, are likely to have a lasting positive impact on students. All children deserve access to a quality public education—and kudos to every individual who continues to play a vital role supporting our students.
Brittnee Exum is the manager of communications and marketing at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.