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mLive.com: Fab Five star Jalen Rose hopes his charter school helps fix education ‘crisis’ in Detroit

May 6, 2011

By Michael Wayland | MLive.com

Detroit native Jalen Rose says Detroit Public Schools is “in a crisis” and he, along with every person in Michigan, should do their part to help the city’s schoolchildren.

“Two-hundred and thirty-eight Michigan schools scored zero on a recent proficiency test! Zero! They’re dropping money per student by the state, but they’re raising money — and the costs stay the same — for building jails,” Rose told MLive.com Detroit during a phone interview from an ESPN studio in Bristol, Conn. “That doesn’t add up.

“That number has to change and I’m just trying to be one vessel for it.”

Rose, a former member of the University of Michigan’s “Fab Five” and 13-year NBA veteran, is attempting to help with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, 15000 Trojan St., Detroit.

The academy — scheduled to open in September — is a 9-12 college-prep charter high school on the Northwest side of the city.

Incoming high school freshmen wishing to be a part of the school’s inaugural “Fab Freshman Class” should apply by the end of the month, and the school will choose it’s first class of 120 students through a lottery in June.

The tuition-free academy looks to have 100 percent of its students graduate from high school, 95 percent enroll in college, and 90 percent graduate from college.

“It’s my job, it’s my role, it’s my mission, it’s my dream to have everyone who has Michigan ties — whether you went to college in Michigan, whether you grew up in Michigan, if you’ve ever heard of the state of Michigan — to do what you can to influence the students of the Detroit metropolitan area,” he said.

Here’s part of the Q&A that Rose, an alumnus of Detroit’s Southwestern High School, did with MLive.com about the school:

Q: Why did you want to start the school? And what are your hopes for the students?

A: To be honest, I realized the importance of education. I was fortunate enough to be an honor roll student in high school at Detroit Southwestern, went to get my degree as a college student, and now, I’m working my major — radio, TV cinema, mass communications — as my career.

I would like to inspire, I would like to help aid, I would like to be a vessel to help a lot of Detroit youth be able to take the same path and be able to do the same things because we’re dealing with a global economy. We’re dealing with having to compete for jobs with technology, and frankly, if you don’t have that criteria, you’re not really giving yourself an opportunity for success.

Q: What was your experience like at Southwestern High School?

A: Well, I loved being a student … I took much pride in representing the city of Detroit and playing sports, but also took a lot of pride in my academics. It was important in my household. It was stressed by my family, and it was something I really took serous. I never wanted to be perceived as a dumb jock in any way, shape or form.

Q: I heard you’re going to have a hands-on approach to the school. What are your plans once the school opens?

A: It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a school of excellence. That’s what were looking for — we’re an open public charter school, which means were tuition-free, kids will be chosen via lottery — but our school day is going to start at 8 a.m., its going to end at 4:30 p.m. DPS on average has their kids come to school 176 days, we’re going 215 days, including nine “Super Saturday” modules, as we call it!

Q: It’s not a simple comparison, but how does opening the school for the students compare to you being a member of the Fab Five at Michigan, being an NBA player, to being an analyst? Where does it rank in your career?

A: This is the anchor. This is the most important thing because I have a degree; my kids go to grade school fortunately; this is not for me, this is for the village, the city, the town that helped raise me, that helped do so much for me; that put me in a possession of success before the Fab Five. I was a product of Detroit, I was a product of DPS, so it means a lot to me.

More of the interview involving the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, DPS, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and even the NBA playoffs will be available next week on MLive.com.

MLive.com http://t.co/mrZRQCg