Derrick Rose stands with Chance the Rapper.
Last week, Chance, a Chicago native and musical artist, donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools in response to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoing a funding bill that would have afforded the school system an addition $215 million.
Rose grew up in the Englewood area of Chicago’s notorious South Side. He attended public schools in the city, including Simeon Career Academy, where the Knicks point guard played his high school hoops. Rose knows firsthand the trials facing Chicago’s youth, and he commends Chance for his efforts and willingness to speak out.
“It’s always great to hear, especially with someone that’s in his position, coming from Chicago and knowing what’s going on internally and (being someone) that’s willing to do something about it,” Rose told the Daily News on Sunday evening before the Knicks took on the Nets in Brooklyn. “It’s always great to hear when somebody steps up and takes the challenge.”
Rose only met Chance on one occasion, and the two didn’t have time to talk at length. But Rose admires the 23-year-old hip-hop artist from afar. Chance is from the West Chatham neighborhood on the South Side.
“I love everything that he’s doing and the way that he’s doing it,” Rose said.
But the former Chicago Bull knows Chance can’t change the culture on his own.
“It’s a great start. But he’s only one person. He only can do so much,” Rose said. “As far as the CPS, it’s a lot that needs to change. For one, financially, that’s one part of it. But…it’s a lack of passion there when it comes to the CPS that everyone needs to be aware of.”
Chance announced his donation in a news conference Tuesday, blasting Rauner for what he believes is apathy toward Chicago’s disadvantaged children. Chance met with Rauner last Friday, but was unhappy with the “vague answers” he received. As a result, he pledged the $1 million to support the arts and after-school programming in CPS.
“Governor Rauner can use his executive power to give Chicago’s children the resources they need to fulfill their God-given right to learn,” Chance said Tuesday. “Our talks were unsuccessful. Gov. Rauner still won’t commit to giving Chicago’s kids a chance without caveats or ultimatums. …While I’m frustrated and disappointed in the governor’s inaction, that will not stop me from continuing to do all I can to support Chicago’s most valuable resource: its children.”
Rose, who told the News he donated to Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park program two years ago while still a member of the Bulls, believes it’s crucial for public figures from Chicago to be vocal and active – just like he and Chance have been.
“It’s huge,” Rose said. “We’re bringing awareness to it. That’s something that gets overlooked. You look at the school system being shut down in Chicago, the amount of schools that’s being overlooked. And I think it’s because it’s public schools. Kids are having to bus from different neighborhoods to other schools. And you talk about gangs, that’s another thing in Chicago where it’s a problem. It’s a problem. And when them kids get bussed, they have nobody to protect them at the school or before school. And that’s something that they have to deal with.
“If they were to go and change the inside of the CPS, I think it would help a lot of kids. And that’s what I mean by being passionate about it. At least act like they care about it. I think a lot can change.”
Rose has ideas about where that change can begin.
“It starts with making the teachers feel like they’re wanted. I think it starts with the teachers,” he said. “Not saying the teachers are bad, but make them feel excited about teaching the kids. It starts with them, and it’s always the top and it goes all the way down.”
“The kids have to feel loved, and that’s something that everybody has to take into consideration. The kids, even if they’re not getting that love at home, they need it at least somewhere,” Rose continued. “It plays a part. Living there, being there and being in those type of circumstances, having to live in them type of environments, kids rarely hear ‘You did a great job’ or hear anything that’s satisfying. They don’t get no type of love there. And I’m not saying the school has to do it or the teacher has to do it. But you have to go far beyond when in you’re in them type of positions.”