Jay-Z Faces Backlash Over Educational Campaign In Philadelphia

Jay-Z Faces Backlash Over Educational Campaign In Philadelphia
Photo by Monica Schipper/WireImage

Jay-Z faces scrutiny as his newly launched educational program in Philly receives a less-than-warm reception.

Following the announcement of Roc Nation’s latest initiative to provide approximately $300 million in scholarships to students in grades K-12, aiming to offer underprivileged children opportunities to attend prestigious private schools and educational institutions across the city, residents of The City of Brotherly Love are raising concerns. Some believe serious flaws exist in the program, including its perceived impact on public education.

“Just to be clear for those not in Pennsylvania, the legislation Jay-Z is supporting here is a Republican-led effort to gut public education, spearheaded by future Trump cabinet member Jeffrey Yass,” wrote one user, taking to X (formerly known as Twitter).

“Whether Jay-Z or the upper middle-class family on the block: if you have resources and don’t allocate them to local public schools, you are making a moral and political choice. Taking children out of public schools in favor of private IS PRECISELY what hurts the most vulnerable,” another commented, suggesting private institutions undermine the progression of public school scholars.

In response to a media headline highlighting the apparent benefits of the philanthropic effort, a third commented: “Said differently: As Pennsylvania is on the verge of transforming the most inequitable school funding system in the nation, an out-of-state billionaire is pairing with a suburban Philadelphia one to try to destroy public education instead.”

It’s worth noting that scholarship amounts will vary depending on age and education level. Half-day kindergarteners score $2,500, K-8th graders get $5,000, and high schoolers hit the jackpot with $10,000. Meanwhile, special needs kids of any age can bag a cool $15,000. However, there’s a caveat. In order to qualify for these scholarships, families income must be below 250 percent of the federal poverty threshold, which is currently $75,000 for a family of four.

“We have enjoyed such a special connection with Philadelphians, so we’ve made it our mission to invest in the long-term success of the city’s changemakers,” said Roc Nation Managing Director of Philanthropy Dania Diaz in a statement. “Impact starts with the students and with awareness. We want to empower the youth and families with the knowledge to pursue their scholastic dreams, make their voices heard and become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Jay-Z and Roc Nation have not responded to the criticism.