The platinum-selling recording artist was picked to appear on a public service announcement because of his popularity with people of a wide age range and varied cultural backgrounds. His pitch? The National Education Association wants him to stir interest in the teaching profession among Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education point to a disparity: While 90 percent of America's public school teachers are white, only 8 percent are African-American and 3 percent are Hispanic. At the same time, the classroom student bodies measure about 70 percent white and 30 percent minority.
"Classrooms everywhere are starved for good teachers of color, particularly black and Hispanic men," said NEA president Bob Chase.
Santana gives a teacher kudos for sending him off in the right direction. His favorite educator, Mr. Knudsen, appreciated his talent as a musician and artist and encouraged him to pick one of the two paths "and give it 100 percent."