Urges action on "educational inequality".
(Cleveland) - Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter John Legend was the keynote speaker at the Cleveland Clinic's 21st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration.
The multi-platinum selling performer addressed Cleveland Clinic employees, community and business leaders at the InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center. His subject was the issue of educational inequality.
Legend says there is a growing gap between affluent public school districts, and struggling systems like the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. He contends, where a child is born now determines the quality of their education and their prospects in life.
Legend says only 7 out of 100 CMSD 9th graders will get a bachelor’s degree. Only 63 will graduate from high school, just will 34 in enroll in college.
Legend explained, just 40% of Cleveland students growing up in poverty become proficient in math and science as compared to 84% of their wealthier peers.
He maintains educational inequality is a national problem because the U.S. has slipped from 1st to 18th place in high school graduation rates.
Legend urged the audience to fight for more equitable education funding, and then thrilled the crowd as he performed three songs on a grand piano placed in the center of the stage.
Legend was born on December 30, 1978, in Springfield, Ohio. Throughout his childhood, legend was homeschooled on and off.
At age four, he began playing the piano and at age seven, he performed with his church choir. When he was ten, his parents divorced.
At the age of 12, Legend attended North High School, from which he graduated salutatorian four years later. He was student body president of Springfield North High School his senior year.
Legend released his debut album, Get Lifted, in December 2004. It debuted at number thirteen on the billboard 200.
The album produced two singles: "Ordinary People" which debuted at 39 on the hot 100, peaking at 29 and "Used to Love U" which debuted at 45 and peaked at 30.
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