Jalen Rose, the former NBA star turned ESPN analyst, has branched out into education by launching the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA) in Detroit. Rose was inspired to launch the school in the area, which has seen a struggling economy and troubled education system.
“When the auto industry was around, adults weren’t necessarily going to college to get degrees,” Rose said.
But now that industry is weakened, it can no longer support the area and Rose believes this is impeding students’ ability to succeed in high school and attend college.
“This domino effect has in turn affected children,” Rose said.
According to a recent study by the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, only 31.9 percent of Detroit’s public high school students graduate in four years, writes Ashley Michelle Williams at The Giro.
The report also found that only 12 percent of adults in Detroit have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
“If I live in a district where I know the school is poor performing, why should I have to make my child go there?,” Rose said.
“It’s embarrassing and ridiculous to me that politicians are talking about charter schools versus public schools and more.
“We should just try to make sure that we have quality schools across Michigan.”
The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy opened in September 2011 in Northwest Detroit. The school opened with 120 ninth graders initially, and will be followed by an new freshman class each year until a maximum of 500 students is reached.
“I wanted to create more quality performing schools than the public schools offered in Detroit,” Rose said.
“I’m fortunate that basketball has placed me in a good position to help give kids the education that they need.”
The academy has a longer school year than other public schools in the area. The school is open for 211 days instead of the traditional 176. The school day is also longer, starting at 7:30am and going to 4:00pm.
Students complete homework at the school where they can easily receive assistance. They also receive laptops, college student mentors and will earn credit for a minimum of three college courses from the University of Detroit prior to graduation.
“Through our curriculum, we see victories in the classroom. We are trying to expose students to life as a college student and get them a step ahead of the game,” Rose said.
“In the future I would like to have all colleges within Michigan give some type of support.”