'Diddy' the schoolmaster? Sean Combs to open charter school in Harlem

Sean 'Diddy' Combs, the rapper, producer, and entrepreneur, joins a long list of celebrities who have tapped their fortunes to fund new models for education.

Matt Sayles/Invision/APFile
Sean 'Diddy' Combs presents the award for best collaboration of the year at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, Nov. 22. Mr. Combs, the founder of Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, announced Monday that the school will open in the fall of 2016.

Rapper, producer, and entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs will join a long list of celebrities who have invested their money in primary education.

Mr. Combs announced Monday that a new charter school that he has founded, Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, will open in the fall. It will be managed by Capital Preparatory Schools, an organization founded in 2012.

The founder of the organization, Steve Perry, is the principal of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., which has operated since 2005, targeting “historically disadvantaged students,” according to its website. The organization reports that every one of its graduates gets accepted to college.

Combs says creating the school is "a dream come true."

He was born in Harlem and grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., where he attended the Mount Vernon Montessori School. Combs went on to Howard University, though he dropped out after two years. The school granted him an honorary doctorate degree in 2014.

He joins a long list of celebrities who have used their wealth to open charter schools, which are independently run and thus more flexible than public schools. These include former NBA player Jalen Rose, tennis champion Andre Agassi, and rapper Pitbull, who founded a sports-management focused charter school in Miami in 2013.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million in 2010 to help reform failing schools in Newark, N.J. Expanding charter schools was a major focus of the reform.

Though the reform that Mr. Zuckerberg helped fund, and local leaders executed, has not brought the desired results, it did double enrollment in charter schools to almost 40 percent of Newark children by 2017.

As Dale Russakoff of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in September, “Students in most charters [in Newark] significantly outperform their district counterparts, so this is a notable improvement, although district schools serve higher proportions of children who don’t speak English, have special needs, or live in extreme poverty.”

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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