Andre Agassi dedicates Indianapolis charter school

Part 105 of 104 in the series Educating America

By Mary C. Tillotson |

The charter school movement is no stranger to celebrities — most recently, the tennis star Andre Agassi, who dedicated a charter school in Indianapolis last week.

Agassi dropped out of school in ninth grade, but by 1995 was the world’s best tennis player.

“He had a lot of challenges that a lot of our low-income and working-class families are faced with, dropping out of school, low grades, low interest — but also having an opportunity,” said Darlene Callands, president and CEO of the Philadelphia branch of African Americans for Educational Options, formerly Black Alliance for Educational Options. “He’s saying, ‘you know what? Because I had this opportunity, look what became of me. If only we can ensure that every child had the same opportunity, look what options they have in life.’”

In this episode of Reform School, Callands and Choice Media also discuss the potential closure of some charter schools in Philadelphia, Washington’s loss of its No Child Left Behind waiver, a pilot program in Colorado aimed to help students victimized by trauma, and a PBS report arguing that charter schools monopolize public money.

Contact Mary C. Tillotson at