Rapper and businessman Sean “Diddy” Combs announced he’s sponsoring a charter school in Harlem, New York, which is scheduled to open its doors for its inaugural class in fall 2016.
Modeled after Capital Preparatory Magnet (CPM)—a school located in Hartford, Connecticut with high graduation and matriculation rates—Combs says Capital Preparatory Harlem will emulate CPM’s year-round schedule and legacy of high expectations and achievement.
Combs, a native of Harlem, said in a March statement seeing the school come to fruition is a “dream come true.”
“The influx of Sean Combs and other celebrities into the charter school movement is a clear indication charters and choice are a mainstream idea,” said Lennie Jarratt, project manager for education transformation at The Heartland Institute.
“Combs understands what it is like growing up in these urban areas and what it takes to become successful against the odds,” Jarratt said.
Charter Benefits Cited
Jarratt says charters offer proven long-term benefits for children.
“Charters improve educational outcomes nearly everywhere they have been implemented,” Jarratt said. “A recent charter school study provided evidence of long-term effects, including higher rates of college persistence and higher salaries.”
Michelle Tigani, communications director for the Center for Education Reform, says celebrity endorsements of charter schools will help to boost their credibility and will benefit those who need better education options the most.
“Charter schools have proven their value in educating children, especially children who have been underserved by the traditional public school system,” Tigani said. “The fact that more celebrities are stepping up to the plate to bring more opportunities to more children through innovative public charter schools is a testament to the fact that charter schools are a viable solution for immediately improving outcomes for kids.”
The school will initially enroll 160 6th and 7th grade students. It will add grade levels and students in each subsequent year until it serves children from 6th through 12th grades.
Elizabeth BeShears ([email protected]) writes from Trussville, Alabama.