Deion Sanders: 'It's time' for school choice, charter schools

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Education,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Olympics,School Vouchers,School Choice,Charter Schools

Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, “Independence Day” star Vivica Fox and several other prominent African-American celebrities are urging governments to adopt school choice, charter schools and other alternatives to education to give kids stuck in poor inner city schools a chance at the fame and fortune they have had.

“It's time for educational choice,” says Sanders in a new video for the American Federation for Children and Alliance for School Choice, which promote alternatives to public education.

The campaign, called “Champions for Choice,” held an event last night in Los Angeles featuring athletes and celebrities in town for the ESPYS, during which star athletes are recognized.

“Many of the athletes,” said Kevin P. Chavous, executive counsel of the American Federation for Children, “come from humble backgrounds. They know what happened to many of their classmates who couldn't make it out of failing schools. And they know that athletic skills good enough to play in the NBA and NFL shouldn't be the only way out of poverty for these kids, as is too often the case.”

The former District councilman added, “That's why they're supporting school choice."

Their new video, “Educational Choice Now,” features Sanders, Olympic gold medal winner and former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, actor Louis Gossett Jr., Fox Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith, Cosby Show actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, gospel duo “Mary Mary,” gold medal swimmer Janet Evans, skateboarder Theotis Beasley, soprano Mary Millben, boxer Laila Ali, Jamie Foxx Show star Garcelle Beauvais and former talk show hostess Kathie Lee Gifford.

“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,” Rose wrote in today's Orange County Register.

“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,” added Rose, a former player for the Chicago Bulls.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.