A 23-year-old rapper is doing more for public schools in Chicago than the government of Illinois — at least that’s how a considerable number of people feel in the Windy City.
In a news conference this week, Chancelor Bennett, popularly known as Chance the Rapper, announced he would be donating $1 million to the Chicago Public Schools systems (CPS).
The move comes just days after the singer and songwriter, who is a Chicago native, met with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to discuss the lack of state funding for the CPS. According to Chance, the “talks were unsuccessful.”
"Today, I'm proud to announce that I am donating $1 million to CPS to support arts and enrichment programming," Chance said at the presser at Westcott Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago, before adding Rauner gave him “a lot of vague answers,” during their meeting, “so we'll see what happens.”
While Chance’s discussion with Rauner was broadly about CPS funding, it took off after Rauner vetoed a bill that was set to delegate $215 million in funding to the city’s school systems. This could, as Chance noted, layoff thousands of staff members and shorten the school year by 13 days.
“Our kids should not be held hostage because of political positions,” the rapper stated in his news conference.
“I’m challenging major companies across the U.S. to donate and take action,” he added. “CPS students have spoke, recently at one of our open mics, and would like corporations to invest in them the way we’ve invested in their businesses. As a private citizen, a parent and a product of CPS, I’m asking you to fight with me.”
A lot of people have praised Chance for his donation, including former first lady Michelle Obama:
Thanks @chancetherapper for giving back to the Chicago community, which gave us so much. You are an example of the power of arts education.— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) March 6, 2017
Chance The Rapper has now done more for public schools in Chicago than I expect Betsy DeVos to do for public schools nationwide.— Bilal Dardai (@bilald) March 7, 2017
I'm a fan of chance the rapper.... it's not even about his music anymore. He is legit leading by example, which makes me want to support him— Renee Montgomery (@Da20one) March 7, 2017
Chance The Rapper just announced he will be donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools towards their arts & music programs! ✊🏾— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 6, 2017
Shocking no one, Chance the Rapper exhibits more investment in public education in a single day than Rauner has in three years. #twill— Christian Mitchell (@cljmitchell) March 7, 2017
"As a CPS graduate, Chance has shown Chicago students not only the heights they can achieve but the generosity they can share," school district spokesperson Emily Bittner told CNN in a statement. "We also appreciate his strong advocacy for Chicago schoolchildren, who suffer under the state's discriminatory system of funding, which Gov. Rauner continues to perpetuate."