In Part 1 of our report, Bill and Melinda Gates highlighted some of the biggest problems facing America's schools—obsolete education, high dropout rates and underperforming graduates. With the help of former basketball all-star and education advocate Kevin Johnson, they have launched a new campaign, Stand Up, to address the crisis.
While playing for the Phoenix Suns, Kevin took his team to the playoffs 10 years in a row. During the NBA off-season, Kevin returned to his hometown of Sacramento, California, to make a difference. He saw that life in his old neighborhood was still a struggle.
To combat the influences of drugs, jail and unemployment on kids in Sacramento, Kevin opened an after-school program called St. Hope Academy designed to keep high-risk kids off the streets. During his time off, he routinely spent 12 hours a day, six days a week working at St. Hope. He quickly realized this was his true calling.
In 2000 Kevin retired to focus on education. "I couldn't wait to get out of the game so that I could do something bigger and more important than basketball," he says. He now works full-time running the six schools that make up the St. Hope Public School System in Sacramento.