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Kanye West to Politicians: Yo, Education Is Important

Aug 24, 2007

In an effort to get politicians to focus on improving U.S. schools, non-partisan organization Strong America Schools has signed up rapper Kanye West as the spokesperson for their $60 million 'Ed in '08' campaign.

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Do American Schools Need Help?

  • An average of 2,500 students drop out of high school every day.
  • 1 in 4 ninth graders will not receive a high school diploma.
  • 31 percent of the students in America's 100 largest public school districts fail to graduate.
  • In some cities, nearly half of all students drop out.

Source: Department of Education 2006 Study

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Strong America Schools 'Ed in '08' Campaign

  • Goal of the Campaign: Urge presidential candidates to form a plan to improve schools
  • Cost of the Campaign: $60 million
  • Celebrity Spokesman: Kanye West
  • Other Celebrities Signed on for Public Service Announcements: Ron Livingston from 'Sex and the City' and Maura Tierney from 'ER'.

The 'Ed in '08' campaign is an ambitious initiative supported by Strong America Schools, a non-partisan group backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates and Eli and Edythe Broad Foundations and by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

The $60 million campaign is meant to draw the attention of politicians and raise public awareness about the desperate need for education reform. According to the official 'Ed in '08' website, the campaign will hopefully encourage every presidential candidate to address three education priorities:

  • American education standards
  • More time and more support for students
  • Effective teachers for every class

The campaign itself will not lend support to any one candidate, political party, or legislative effort, but has signed up several celebrities to make public service announcements and garner attention for the cause.

The biggest name to lend support to the group is Kanye West. The rapper filmed his first public service announcement on Friday and addressed politicians directly with this statement:

'Yo. Becoming a music superstar took hard work, but it also took a solid education.'

West told the Associated Press on Friday that he has no interest in 'who's running with who' in the next election, but hopes to raise awareness with his involvement in the education campaign.

'Politics is a business,' West said. 'I'm more social. I just care about people.'

The 'Ed in '08' group has also expressed enthusiasm about working with West to improve schools and curb dropout rates.

'We look forward to working with the Kanye West Foundation to raise awareness about America's education crisis and urge the presidential candidates to put forward a plan to improve America's schools because, in every community in America, too many children are leaving school without the skills to be ready to succeed in college, career and life,' said Marc Lampkin, executive director of 'ED in '08' in a statement.


If you are interested in supporting the 'Ed in 08' campaign, you can visit edin08.com to sign a petition and order a free 'I AM ED' endorsement kit.

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