John Legend Fights for Education Reform

Nov 19, 2010 4:46pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Seth Lemon blogs: John Legend returned to Howard University last week for his third education-related event this semester. Previously, he surprised students as a guest speaker during class for an MTVu project, and he worked with nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden to encourage adults and students to become education mentors. During the latest event Legend served as a panelist at a town hall hosted by the U.S. Department of Education and Howard University. The event featured a Q&A session with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the TEACH campaign, which seeks to attract more minorities, particularly males, into teaching. The Grammy award-winning artist described his Show Me Campaign, a non-profit organization that combats poverty and hardship to an auditorium filled with students. In the United States the campaign focuses on education reform, an issue that John Legend calls the "civil rights movement of our time." ABC News on Campus reporter Seth Lemon sat down with Legend to find out why he is so passionate about education reform. Click on the video below to watch a clip.    Legend said education is the fundamental building block of a society, and that lacking education prevents you from contributing to democracy and the economy. "I think the true key [to education reform] is making sure there's a quality teacher in every classroom no matter what neighborhood the kids are in," Legend said. "Making sure every kid has a quality teacher is the most important thing you can do." He also spoke about how his parents, despite not being college-educated or wealthy, instilled the importance of education in him at a young age. His parents would read to him and quiz him on arithmetic before he started attending school, which he says put him ahead of his classmates. Legend went on to graduate from high school at 16 years old. He then earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. "We want to have social justice, and we care about disenfranchised and disadvantage communities," said Legend. "I think education is the key to bring about real change in those areas."

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