Betsy DeVos and Latino Rapper Pitbull on the Same Page for Charter Schools

When the U.S. Department of Education took a closer look at a Miami charter school backed by a major Cuban-American hip hop star, then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wanted to take a closer look.


In fact, her staff set up a public event in which she joined Pitbull on stage to tout the efforts of the SLAM Academy.


Many saw the super conservative DeVos and the spicy rapper as an unlikely pair to join forces. However, both of them are passionate about education. Pitbull, whose real name is Armando Christian Pérez, is a Miami native. He has been striving to use his fame and the fortune he made in the music business to give back to the community he loves.


To that end, he has generously bankrolled SLAM. It serves 6th grade through 12th grade students. SLAM stand for Sports Leadership And Management. As its name implies, students get special educational opportunities that focus on the business side of sports. They get training in things like marketing, promotion and attend classes that illuminate the financial aspects of professional sports.


SLAM serves primarily low-income kids of color.


It’s exactly the kind of approach favor by Betsy DeVos, a decades-long critics of traditional public schools. DeVos is passionate about the concept of school choice. She believes American kids need alternatives to the public schools most of them attend determined solely by their zip codes.


The SLAM Academy was established on a for-profit model and has not been without controversy. It’s academic performance rating was recently listed as a lackluster “C” as determined by the Florida Department of Education.


However, DeVos and Pitbull believe that building new models for education and innovating will necessarily be met with some bumps in the road. Betsy DeVos believes in the mission and model of the SLAM Academy and eagerly joined Pitbull to lend her support.


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