Sean Combs’ Charter School Is Great, But Only Half The Answer
Sean “Diddy” Combs is making another huge investment. But, unlike many others he’s made over the years, this one isn’t going into a sports drink, television station, or music label. This investment is going directly towards his community and their future.
This upcoming fall, the Capital Prep Harlem School will open in New York City, which Combs played a pivotal role in creating. The charter school will start with around 160 students in both the sixth and seventh grades. The plan is for it to eventually expand every year until around 700 students are enrolled from grades sixth through twelfth.
According to the New York Times, Combs’ called the opening of the institution “a dream come true” which is understandable. By introducing the school, he’s playing an active role in supporting the next generation of students who have every opportunity to be our next leaders. There’s really no way to complain about that.
But, while this is absolutely great news for the handful of carefully selected students that will be able to fill the halls of the new school, we need to take a look at those that won’t.
Private and charter institutions are viable schooling options for millions of students across the globe. But one damaging misconception about private and charter schools is that they’re meant to slowly replace traditional public schools until they’re made completely obsolete. The largest of many concerns that comes with that notion is the reality that not every student is going to make it into these selective charter school environments or be able to pay for private school. So, what about them?
I want to make it perfectly clear that I fully commend Combs for opening Capital Prep this upcoming fall. But people following in his footsteps, and those of others that have done just the same in the past, aren’t the automatic fix-all to making sure that we have proper education moving forward.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the highest percentage of students in charter schools during 2012-13 was in Washington D.C. And even there the number was only at 42 percent. Meaning that 58 percent of students either depended on private or non-charter, public schooling.
Proper steps need to be taken to bolster public schools to meet the needs of their diverse students. At the same time, quality charter and private schools should still be available for those who choose to pursue them as an option. If not, there may be a day where there are so many students who can’t access the schools but who have few alternative options.
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