Rap mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs helped open a charter school in East Harlem on Monday that he’s had in the making for more than six years, WPIX reported.
It’s part of a small charter network that’s expanding from Connecticut, where it’s had both successes and shortcomings, into East Harlem, where it’s hoping to have a stronger performance.
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The ceremony began after the 176 6th and 7th grade students who make up the inaugural classes of Capital Preparatory Harlem School filed into the auditorium of Museo del Barrio. The school occupies the fifth floor of the building.
The founder of Capital Prep Schools, Steve Perry, PhD, opened the ceremony. The idea for the Harlem academy, he told the assembled students and dignitaries, "came to me through a person I never met, but always admired, a gentleman named Sean P. Diddy, Puff Daddy Combs!" Perry was met with raucous applause from an excited but compliant audience of mostly black and Latino tweens students.
Combs was met with huge cheers upon mounting the stage for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to the report. He said he wanted Harlem to have the "best of schools" and "best of everything."
He was asked by PIX-11 about seeing the school become a reality.
"Instead of me complaining about education," he said, "I want to do something about it. So that’s why I’m starting this school."
Capital Prep founder Steve Perry has stirred criticism for his critical remarks about teachers unions. He said in 2013 that efforts to keep failing teachers from getting fired were "killing" children and quality education, according to Reason.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton previously supported charter schools, but she now opposes them and has the endorsement of some of the country’s largest teachers unions. The unions often oppose charter schools because they do not hire unionized teachers.