Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Announces Support Of PASS Bill To Offer Philadelphia Students From Low-Income Homes Access To Private Schools

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Announces Support Of PASS Bill To Offer Philadelphia Students From Low-Income Homes Access To Private Schools

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation has announced its support of an initiative focused on students in Philadelphia, PA.

The full-service entertainment company is backing the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS) in its goal to provide scholarships, according to Fox-29. The educational campaign is said to offer students from low-income households and underperforming schools access to private schools.

“PASS — which is also known as Senate Bill 757 — is legislation aimed at increasing education opportunities for underprivileged youth attending the state’s lowest performing public schools,” a press release detailed, per Fox-29.

The outlet notes that Roc Nation has spearheaded “Dine and Learn,” an event series to educate students and parents in Philadelphia about PASS.

“We have enjoyed such a special connection with Philadelphians, so we’ve made it our mission to invest in the long-term success of the city’s changemakers,” Dania Diaz, managing director of philanthropy at Roc Nation, said.

Amid Roc Nation’s announcement, local PBS station WHYY News reports that previous accounts of the billionaire rapper donating $300 million in scholarships to Philadelphia students are false. If PASS is given the green light, Roc Nation will request $100 million for student scholarships, with the money drawn from taxpayers.

In addition, Jay-Z has received backlash as critics claim that the campaign, also backed by billionaire Jeffrey Yass, is looking to expand school vouchers while taking funding from public schools. According to WHYY News, Jay-Z’s representatives deny the claims and state that its mission is to support parents who believe that Philadelphia public schools haven’t been effective.

In a statement about PASS received by AFROTECH™, Roc Nation shares that its concern about the overall proficiency rates of public schools in Pennsylvania were a significant factor for its support of the legislation.

“At the end of the day, Roc Nation’s advocacy is centered around children and their right to seek the best options for quality education,” the statement said. “If PASS scholarship legislation is approved, the initiative would empower parents and caretakers to evaluate multiple school programs and make informed scholastic decisions for the well-being of their children. Otherwise, parents are simply at the mercy of the system, where their kids’ academic futures are predetermined based on economic status and the location of their homes. The reality is the current system is fundamentally flawed and failing our youth.”

According to WHYY News, while “the Senate education committee passed a revised version of Senate Bill 795 (PASS) last month with bipartisan support,” the state Senate has to approve the PASS bill before the budget deadline of June 30.

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