If it seems to you sometimes like pop stars run this country, you’re correct in at least one respect: Pitbull, the 35th-biggest pop star in the world, is currently taking over responsibilities that used to be the province of local government—he’s started his own school.
Pitbull’s Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM), NPR reports, is the rapper’s attempt at reaching kids in the Miami school system turned off by traditional education. The school offers a sport-related curriculum and connections to the local baseball franchise, the Miami Marlins.
“[A] lot of these kids are so creative … but no one believes in them. … No one motives them. I relate to them … but then I give it to them raw,” Mr. Worldwide told the radio network. “They’re already labeling me ‘Mr. Education,’ ” he said.
The Atlantic notes that Pitbull’s official role with SLAM is “fairly vague.”
The move has earned the “Timber” rapper some rare criticism from political journalists:
— Matt Bruenig (@MattBruenig) October 16, 2013
Closer to home, Miami public officials say the whole thing is a publicity stunt.
“I guess you can expect Pitbull to show up every now and then, and that’s cool if you’re a Pitbull fan,” school board member Raquel Regalado told NPR. “How does that translate into academic achievement?”
Academica, the company behind Pitbull’s charter school, is one of Florida’s most profitable education companies, thanks in part to its close financial ties to the legislators in the state capital.