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Jalen Rose testifies in support of school choice and charters

Jalen Rose testifies in Lansing today.
Dan Wuan
Michigan Senate
Jalen Rose testifies in Lansing today.

Former NBA player and one of the “Fab Five” at the University of Michigan, Jalen Rose, told lawmakers at the state Capitol today parents need more school options for their kids.

Rose testified before a state panel in support of allowing more charter schools and schools of choice in Michigan.

He sponsored a charter academy that opened in his hometown of Detroit.

Rose says the school selects students based on a lottery, rather than test scores, so every kid would have a shot at getting in.

He says he focused his attention on education after retiring from the NBA a few years ago. He says as a retiree in his mid-30s he told himself, “I have to do something, because I can’t run, jump, and - I can still shoot - but, you know what I mean.”

Rose says too many parents are forced to consider sending their kids to a neighborhood public school that is failing.

"I would prefer that the school in my district was performing, but since it isn’t, what should I do? Should I feed this cycle that I know is going to lead to a dead end? Or do I create different options for my kids?"

Rose says though sports are a great motivator for students, not everyone can play professional basketball. He says every student should be given the opportunity and tools to work in a job they love.

Rose opened the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy charter school in Detroit. He says students at the school will be in class 211 days a year.

"For me, gone are the days for the students to get out in June, enjoy the months off in summer, come back after Labor Day. A lot of these kids can’t remember what happened this morning – how are you expected to remember what happened in June when you show up in September? That’s too much idle time."

Rose says 85 percent of the incoming freshmen at his academy could not read at a ninth-grade level.

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