Former Redskin to Open Charter School

NFL Hall of Famer reaches out to Texas students

Deion Sanders must give powerpoint presentations like he returns punts: the former Washington Redskin and reality TV personality (remember that?) has persuaded the Texas State Board of Education to allow him to open a charter school, according to the Washington Post.

Sanders was given the green light Friday by a board vote of 8 to 4 to open a charter school called Prime Prep, a nod to his nickname, "Prime Time."  

The school -- said to focus on sports and education -- is set to open its doors to 650 to 1,000 elementary students in 2012 and will eventually expand to the 12th grade, according to the Star-Telegram.

Sanders is working with Metroplex business leaders and Uplift Fort Worth -- a Dallas-Fort Worth nonprofit -- to launch the school.

At an education board meeting, concerns were expressed about the proposed charter's academic program.

"I have no idea what the applicant plans to do in the classroom, how they plan to instruct the TEKS," said Michael Soto, D-San Antonio to the Texas Tribune, adding, "I have no idea what they plan to offer in a day-to-day classroom experience."

Mavis Knight, D-Dallas, told the Tribune she had reservations about having a celebrity involved.

"[I] wrestle with myself to keep from penalizing opportunities for students because of the celebrity involved" but concluded that "there are probably more resources" coming to the students because of it.

Currently an NFL Network analyst, Sanders has an illustrious athletic career behind him, having played football for the Cowboys, Redskins, Ravens and baseball for the Yankees, Braves, Reds and Giants.

He also runs the Prime Time Association -- a 501c3 nonprofit organization -- which seeks to "reach and teach our youth through sports and education." It was while observing the kids participating in his athletic camp that he had the idea for Prime Prep, according to an interview with the Dallas Morning News.

Another retired pro-athlete, tennis star Andre Agassi, made headlines in 2001 for opening a charter school, Andre Agassi Prep.  

The school was named a National Model Charter School by the U.S. Department of Education in 2003.

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