by Dani Cimo, Telemundo
Pitbull wants to make education fun again—and he’s doing it with his new charter school opening up in Miami this week.
The international superstar is best known for his party soundtrack all around the world, but his charter school will be opened in the very same Miami neighborhood where he grew up. The school will focus on sports management and is called Sports Leadership and Management (SLAM)
In an interview with the Washington Post, Pitbull explained why he decided to take up the cause of charter schools.
“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,” he said.
Pitbull emphasizes the importance of inspiration at SLAM, and he hopes to see kids embrace education again.
“What happens is education is no longer sexy, it’s no longer cool. I want to help put together a curriculum…where it does entertain them and engage them,” he explained.
Latinos are increasingly enrolling in charter schools, going from 20 percent of the charter school population in the 1999-2000 year to 26 percent in 2009-2010, according to George Washington University’s Face the Facts initiative.
Pitbull’s school will be run by non-profit Mater Academy, which has several Miami-area charter schools, and Academica, a large national charter school management company. Academica’s president Fernando Zulueta said at the National Charter Schools Conference in July that the rapper’s role will not be day to day but instead focusing on getting people involved.
The school has faced some criticism for working with Academica, a for-profit company. The National Education Policy Center called Pitbull out not just for Academica’s involvement but also for what they called misogynistic lyrics in his music. Still, Pitbull’s involvement in the school choice movement and desire to help kids get interested in learning again has been mostly well-received.
The Cuban American musician wants to see students at his school find learning fun. He says SLAM‘s mission is to provide Miami’s youth with an innovative educational program, emphasizing in sports-related career preparation. By educating the youth, he hopes to empower them to tackle anything that comes their way.
“There is no way that you can tackle any obstacle or any issue around the world if you are not educated,” he told the Washington Post. “That’s why we have to educate. That’s why I fight for it.”