And So It Begins As Deion Sanders Rallies Support for His "Prime Prep" Charter Schools

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D.L. Wallace addresses a crowd of potential students and their parents at Charity Church.
Deion Sanders overlooked the crowd from his seat at a long table, positioned in front of the altar at Charity Church in East Fort Worth at last night's town hall meeting for his latest venture, Prime Prep Academy, a charter school he says will have campuses in both Fort Worth and Dallas.

The Charity Church campus at 4400 Panola Ave. is Prime Prep's future location; the Dallas school will be at 330 East Ann Arbor Ave. in Oak Cliff, where the second town hall will be held tomorrow night. The locations are solid, Sanders' business partner, D.L. Wallace said -- that is, unless some very generous benefactor decides to give them a beautiful new alternative. And unless Sanders and Wallace's former partner gets the Texas Education Agency to throw up a few roadblocks.

In the brief moments when he wasn't speaking, Wallace sat beside Sanders in front of the altar, along with two others who are helping them to get their charter school project, Prime Prep Academy, up and running. Sanders' potential future disciples, here to learn more about the school scheduled to open in August, lined the packs rows of pews.

"I pray to God that your kid gets here to Prime Prep academy," Sanders said, starting the night with a prayer. "It's going to be so wonderful."

Wallace was the main preacher of the night, and a charismatic one at that, leading the crowd through a demonstration that was much like a pep rally. He started with a few facts. "There are no costs to go to Prime Prep Academy," he said. Open enrollment begins March 1, and there are 750 student spots available at each of the two campuses.

Several parents voiced frustrations with the Fort Worth school district as part of their basis for attending.

Much of the night centered on the plan to give each child a free laptop, which will be used extensively as a learning tool through VSCHOOLZ, which outfits and customizes classroom technology. Wallace touted the program for engaging children and helping teachers to be more efficient with grading and recognizing trends if a certain questions are missed by a large group of students. Additionally, he said, parents will be able to view test results immediately after they're posted.

Sanders piped up during one of several question-and-answer sessions staggered throughout the presentation: "I have a question, how much is that laptop?"

"It's free!" Wallace responded. The crowd cheered.

Sanders joked that his own children always say they did great, no matter what. But with the digital grading system, he said, "They won't lie now!" The school is an outgrowth of Sanders' summer athletics and education program, TRUTH.

"Our first commitment as an organization is to your child," Wallace said. "Your child is somebody, and when they're here, we're going to reaffirm that." Speakers at the town hall said the school will offer free healthy meals, free after-school tutoring and extracurricular activities.

One local resident asked where all the money is coming from, to which Wallace responded that while the school's offerings are free to students they aren't anywhere close to free overall. State education funding and donations from corporate partners will allow them to keep the computers charged and the lunch line supplied, Wallace said, adding compliments after each of his responses. "Excellent question," "fantastic question," he told audience members to the point of caricature. One man in the audience muttered, "Every question is excellent?"

"We always felt like the inner-city students deserve just as much as everybody else," Wallace told Unfair Park after the town hall. "But it was about how do you actually make it become a reality."


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21 comments
commonsense
commonsense

A parent would be crazy to send your child to anything these two con men are involved in. They both are going through divorce and got multiple lawsuits pending against them for cons using children as the bait. This is the same Church they ran the last con game from so now it is a school? Parents, you better do your home work before you believe your child is going to be educated by these two con men.

DezJimmar
DezJimmar

Here is a newsflash to everyone reading this article.  THIS IS NOT DEION SANDERS' CHARTER SCHOOL!  His name does not appear on any of the applications or documents.  He is not listed in any way as an officer of this school nor the founding entity, Uplift Ft. Worth.  This is D.L. Wallace's school.  AND HE IS A CON MAN!!!

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I want to see the application process. I want to see their code of conduct, requirements for parental involvement, and I want to see their class size limits.

In other words, I want to see why they get to CAP enrollment, but DISD cannot. I want to see why they can LIMIT class size, but we cannot. And I want to see how they regulate behavior and deal with offenders--if at all.

When people talk abotut "competition" in education and throw up "charter schools" as the answer---my question is:If a charter school can do it, why can't we? If they don't have to do it--whatever--why DO we? And don't forget, 40% of all charters fail and have to be shut down. You are listening to a man who NEVER taught a day in his life talk about opening a school. Deion, I would love to meet with you. I would like to know why you never worked to help us change Texas law so we could also limit enrollment where I work.

Jay
Jay

I didn't realize that Deon earned a degree in education. Or management. Or business. Actually, I don't believe Deon earned a degree in anything during his years at college or after he went pro.

 

Likeicare
Likeicare

Laptops are NOT free.  Someone has to pay for them.  Who is?

trudat
trudat

Deons' life is clearly an inspiration to those who like to see someone come from nothing to Super Stardom.  I am a Deon fan.

But Deon is an athlete/entertainer not an educator.  If he wants to jump into education, he should let the educators do it for him.  And beyond that, he should consult with some social scientist to evaluate the role that charter schools are playing in the destabilization of the public school system.

Let me break my many words down to a statement; Deon, adopt a public school and make your educational contributions in conjunction with the teachers, parents, and students in that school. 

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Once a con man always a con man.

jfpo
jfpo

So the same state legislature that gutted funding for public education is sending enough money to these joke schools to buy laptops for all students? What's wrong with this picture?

dub919
dub919

On paper and to have him tell it, it looks like an intriguing idea, at least.  However, I can't shake the feeling that it will start big and devolve into a football player mill...right up until Deion goes broke or the NCAA recruiting violations start to pile up.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Back in the late '90's the US Army instituted a re-enlistment incentive package that included tuition free enrollment in an accredited e-learning college (college credits = promotion points).

Before the first semester of E-ArmyU was complete, Law Enforcement task forces had to be formed army-wide to apprehend soldiers who pawned the laptops and the pawnshop owners who took them in.

If you make something cost nothing there will soon be none of that thing left.  You may notice this the next time you try to buy something for nothing.

Anon
Anon

The people who would sign their child up for this school and Sanders deserve each other. What they don't deserve, are a single dollar in tax money.

Betteyebollden
Betteyebollden

It is pretty hard to graduate from High School in Texas. I'm not a resident of Texas; I was told that once you complete your coursework you must be tested.In the N we send and pay for our children to learn how to be tested when they are marginal students. There will not be much crime in D's school; bullying will be zero tolerance. If I had a son or daughter that was a talented athlete I would want them to attend Deion’s charter school; Deion will provide academics, athletics, budgeting your earnings if you become pro-athlete. I want the American Dream for my child. I do not wish my child be lied to or cheated.Although you didn't  per say mention in your distinct post, could you please tell me something bad about Mr. Sanders' character? I read about his partner?

DezJimmar
DezJimmar

Correctomundo!  Deion hardly went to class.  If he re-enrolled in college, I don't believe he has enough credits to qualify as a sophmore.  Furthermore, his con man business partner never graduated from college either.  Yet, the Sate of Texas is giving them taxpayer (yours and mine) dollars to do what they never did - complete school.  This is a complete fraud on the people of Texas.

jfpo
jfpo

Since most of their money comes from "state sources" and there's no tuition, I guess that would be us.

Anon
Anon

choice = good. nothing else matters. seriously, this story is absolutely infuriating.

Betteyebolden
Betteyebolden

We have Charter Schools in MI.  The trade off of the ebooks is a grand that will allow them to purchace laptops.  I thin it is a great idea.  My son's roomate when to a football factory.He graduated from college in 4 yeas and did not go professional.  He is now working on his masters.  His parents were behind him keeping his focused.

IttyBitty Wussy
IttyBitty Wussy

I'm glad to see that thrown out there; been thinking the exact same thing the last several weeks.  Call me cynical but I won't be surprised to see 1) kids from all over the country transferring to Prime Prep just in time to get academically qualified for collegiate national signing day; and 2) old "student financial aid" promissory notes payable to Deion popping up right after their subsequent NFL draft. Seems like a decent long-term play.

anon
anon

sounds like someone's been drinking haterade

youmad?
youmad?

'Green with Envy' flavored. Has a hint of desperation and slight tones of jealousy.

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