Jalen Rose is an ABC/ESPN Analyst, former NBA star and founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, public charter high school in Detroit. He makes a compelling case against rationing children’s education options based on where they can afford to live. As he writes in the Orange County Register:
Many young people in America today face a harsh reality. Their fate in life is determined by their ZIP code. For an overwhelming number of African Americans and other minorities, having the wrong ZIP code keeps you from a high school diploma, a college degree, and a future that offers you opportunities that match your talents.
That’s wrong. And it’s entirely avoidable.
We are not assigned to certain grocery stores or restaurants based on our ZIP codes, which is why it makes no sense that between K-12, children are required to attend a school solely based on where they live.
The fact of the matter is that the high school graduation rate for African American males is just 52 percent – 26 percentage points below the national average of their white counterparts. In other words, more than half of all African American children in America will never have the basic skills to compete in the 21st century workforce. Odds are many of those children will turn to crime, violence or drugs, causing problems for every single American who pays taxes or simply seeks to live in a society that allows people to realize their full potential.
Rose’s solution is parental choice in education, and he’s not alone.
..every year, while athletes and celebrities come together to celebrate athletic feats, all-star athletes and accomplishments at the ESPY Awards, there will be a group of us who come together the night before at the third annual Champions for Choice in Education [here] celebration. A celebration that pauses to recognize a less celebrated, but easily more important cause: Ensuring every child, no matter their race, no matter their family’s income, no matter their ZIP code, has access to a quality education. …
An athletic scholarship shouldn’t be a child’s best opportunity to receive an education. That’s not right and it’s not fair. Neither luck nor the ability to dribble a basketball should be the only tickets out of an underperforming school. It is well past time that our elected officials enact common sense reform to save a generation of children from a fate they do not deserve.
That advice should be a slam dunk.