Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School, the New York City school founded by Sean Combs, opened its doors Monday.

"Great schools and great education make a big difference," Combs told the inaugural class of 176 students. "Unfortunately, too many people don't get the opportunity to succeed, no matter how hard they try. This is leveling the playing field here at Capital Prep."

Combs is a hip hop artist, actor and entrepreneur who at various stages in his career has gone by "Diddy," "P. Diddy," "Puff Daddy" and "Puffy."

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The public charter school will use the successful education model of Capital Preparatory Magnet, a Hartford, Conn., school. The model includes a no-excuses disciplinary approach and extra instructional time for students. That school's founder, Steve Perry, is overseeing the Harlem school as well, though not as its principal.

Roughly 1,000 students applied for the 176 spots, so a random lottery was required to choose which students would be accepted. The school opened with sixth and seventh grade students with plans to eventually expand to about 700 students in grades six through 12.


Combs isn't the first celebrity to open a charter school. Andre Agassi, Tony Bennett, Magic Johnson, Pitbull, Jalen Rose and Deion Sanders have all opened charter schools. Sanders' school, however, closed in 2015.

Charter schools are publicly funded and do not charge tuition, but they are privately run. Compared to traditional public schools, charters have more independence and flexibility in their operations and curricula, which is why many families find them desirable. They are open to all students, but due to demand they often must often use a lottery system to allocate spaces.

Jason Russell is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.