Pitbull is showing real leadership when it comes to the future of education this weekend as he is working to open a new charter school in his hometown of Miami, Florida. The Cuban-American rapper’s new school, Sports Leadership & Management Middle/High School (SLAM), will open its door to new students this Saturday afternoon, according to the school’s website.
Speaking with the Washington Post at 2013 National Charter Schools Conference, where he was the keynote speaker, Pitbull offered his thoughts on the importance of education to improving one’s life and bettering oneself as a human being.
“There’s no way that you can tackle any obstacle or any issue around the world if you’re not educated.” Pitbull said. “My mother always told me that the biggest diseases in the world, the most dangerous, [were] ignorance and greed. That’s why we have to educate. That’s why I fight for it. That’s what I feel is the real revolution.”
Pitbull believes that students can relate to him because of his unique ability to speak with kids from similar upbringing as he does.
“I don’t think you could find a better poster child for the simple fact that I did live it,” he said. “These kids can really relate. I’m not here trying to sell you something. I’m trying to tell you something. The difference is that. I could have a conversation like this with you right now and then go down to the kids from the old neighborhood and have a whole different conversation and they’re gonna understand me.
Addressing the unconventional focus of the new school on sports management, Pitbull addressed why he believes the important role that sports can play in a child’s life.
“Sports is something that gives you discipline. It shows you what it is to work hard and go out there everyday. The more you practice the better you get. What I say about sports is that it’s not just about athletes. Go back and it can be therapists, broadcasters, attorneys. Anything that can engage them, as far as, them wanting to learn.”
Charter schools are publicly-funded schools run by private corporations that offer free or low-cost tuition to at-risk students. They are often run for-profit and in recent years, charter schools have become a target for criticism due to the potential drain of resources and talented schools from often underfunded public schools.
Addressing criticism, Pitbull offered a pithy rejoinder in response.
“Critics.” Pitbull said. “”They must criticize, I would say. No? But men lie. women lie. Numbers don’t lie. Look at the numbers.”