When you hear the words “eight grade drop out,” you usually don’t think of someone who has continued education throughout their adulthood. Tennis player Andre Agassi, however, who was number one in the world for his sport, has done just that. At SXSW Agassi opened up about his work with opening schools, educating kids with dyslexia and why education is so important to him. “My involvement in education kind of came quite frankly as a result of my lack education,” he said.
While he took the first place spot in tennis, Agassi said he felt a disconnect, and one day he realized this disconnect was due to the fact he didn’t continue his education past middle school. “There are these kids who really don’t have the choice,” he said about people who don’t come from a place where a solid education is available to them. This led Agassi to take out a $40 million mortgage to build his own K-12 charter school in Las Vegas. Four years later, Turner Agassi Charter School Fund has built “about 80 schools across the country.”
Agassi has partnered with Square Panda and is at SXSW to announce that the two are collaborating on the Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation. As Agassi has “scaled” his mission, he has learned that literacy is such a “high component of the trajectory of a child’s life.” One thing that the foundation aims to work with are children with dyslexia and matching kids with the best teaching practice for each individual.
Andy Butler who works with Square Panda explained that they have found a way to assess a child’s performance in real time and hyper-tailor the way the child is taught. “Readvolution” is the name of this new program and Agassi hopes it goes global to help students with learning disabilities.
Butler explained the neuroscience behind it all saying that they can assess a child’s learning patterns while they’re as young as three years old to “understand where they’re going to have learning challenges before they enter school and before they get discouraged by their particular struggles.”
To learn more about the program, watch the full interview above. Leave your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.