This year has been a challenging one for schools and students across the nation. After transitioning to online learning in the middle of the school year, schools persevered through the hardships, and charter schools in particular went above and beyond for students.
In large part due to charter schools’ mission to put students first, we’ve seen a number of new and renewed support for charter schools among celebrities this year. Take a look at some of the celebrity champions this year, in sports, film, and music:
Russell Wilson and Ciara
NFL star Russell Wilson and Grammy-award winning performer Ciara partnered with a charter school near their home base of Seattle that was forced to delay its opening as a result of the pandemic. Through Wilson and Ciara’s foundation, the couple hopes this school is the first of many schools they support across the country to focus on academics, personalized student plans, and internships and mentorships for underserved Black and brown students.
Jalen Ramsey, a NFL cornerback for the Los Angeles Rams, pledged $1 million to Purpose Preparatory Academy, a high-quality charter school in Nashville, Tennessee, his home state. His support allowed Purpose Prep to accommodate distance learning for every student during the coronavirus pandemic.
A Coalition of NBA Players
The National Basketball Association (NBA) included ‘Education Reform’ as one of the 30 social justice-themed messages players could add to the backs of their jerseys for the second half of the 2020 season. A number of current and former professional basketball players have been strong charter supporters in the past (hi, Jalen Rose!) so it’s no surprise to see that 11 players chose the phrase for their backs, including Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, Sr. The twins, who play for the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, attended Prep Charter in Philadelphia before playing at the University of Kansas and then on to the NBA where they were first-round draft picks in 2011.
The Crazy Rich Asians screenwriter sends her children to Citizens of the World Charter School in Mar Vista, California. “They celebrate every child, not just the perfect child," Lim says of the school. "The emphasis on mindfulness and social-emotional learning has been transformative, not just for my children, but for us as a family."
Alix Friedberg, the Emmy-winning costume designer for Big Little Lies and Sharp Objects, sends her sons to City Language Immersion Charter (CLIC) in Arlington Heights, California, where they learn in English and Spanish. “I have never seen another learning environment that is so culturally and socioeconomically diverse. It’s a direct reflection of faces of Los Angeles,” she says. "CLIC created an environment where every student is supported socially and emotionally through project-based learning. This hands-on approach forces them to learn from each other and problem-solve together."
Long-time charter supporter and musician Diddy and charter school founder Steve Perry opened up a third charter school, Capital Prep Bronx, with the plan of remote classes and transition to “hybrid/in-person” classes. The school has nearly 200 students with other campuses in Harlem and Bridgeport, Connecticut. Diddy also made an appearance on our 2018 list of celebrity support!
Destinee Perry is the communications intern for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
Read more of the National Alliance's series of year-end blog posts for 2020: