Harlem, New York – Musically, John Legend has achieved what many artists strive for their whole career — Grammy awards, (he’s won six) platinum albums (he has two) and perhaps, most importantly, respect.
One area Legend will admit he hasn’t yet scratched the surface in has little to do with music.
Education reform has become the entertainer and activist’s number one priority when he’s not in the studio or on tour.
He started a non-profit organization to help him focus his efforts to improve America’s public schools.
“The ‘Show Me’ Campaign is all about fighting poverty,” Legend recently told theGrio’s Todd Johnson. “And we believe that education reform is necessary to achieve that and so we work with great schools around the country that are doing the right things to make sure that kids, no matter where they come from, can get a great education.”
Legend co-chairs Harlem Village Academies National Leadership Board. HVA currently operates three schools in New York and has earned national praise for its standardized test results and innovative teaching methods.
“Once you learn that [success] is possible, then you wonder well, why isn’t it happening all around the country? Why isn’t it happening in other schools?” Legend said. “There are countless kids who want to get into a school like this who have to apply to a lottery and only a fraction of them are actually going to get into the school.”
Legend, who has made several trips to Africa championing education as a solution to poverty, takes issue with how public school students are selected to attend innovative charter schools such as HVA.
“We shouldn’t accept that a lottery in this country can decide whether or not you’re going to be successful or not, whether or not you’re going to graduate from high school or not, whether or not you’re going to go to college and live a good life. It should be something that every kid can get in this country.”