Why Isn’t Andre Agassi Building Tennis Camps Instead of Charter Schools? | Diane Ravitch’s blog
Andre Agassi is one of our nation’s greatest tennis stars. In his heyday, he was one of the most exciting people in the game.
Because he was a child prodigy, he dropped out of high school in ninth grade to concentrate on his game. It was a good decision for him.
But now in his retirement, he has decided that he should open a chain of for-profit charter schools, despite his lack of education or experience in education.
He raised $750 million from a group of investors in Los Angeles called Canyon Capital to open his own brand of schools.
He is not only opening new charters in Las Vegas but is expanding into Milwaukee, Memphis, and elsewhere. He hopes eventually to have his chain run “100s” of charter schools.
Meanwhile his own model school has experienced a series of embarrassing scandals.
Agassi, who knows nothing about schooling, proudly proclaims that “the private sector is best for schooling,” because that is what he is selling. Agassi frankly admits that his schools are private sector schools, not public schools.
His model in Las Vegas receives about $6,400 per student from the state, like public schools, but then supplements it with another $6,000 per student from private sources. Having double the budget of public schools does give the “model” an advantage. Although the article says that “all” 34 seniors graduated, it is not clear how many students left the class before senior year.
One local newspaper shined a harsh light on the charter, not because it spends double the amount available to local public schools, but because of high teacher turnover (the school considers high teacher turnover a plus) and discipline problems.
Step back for a moment and ask yourself: Is America building a stronger and better education system by turning its kids over to celebrities and athletes who are not themselves educated?