On January 4, 1999 Coach Carter made news when he locked-out his undefeated Richmond High School Varsity Basketball team in order to push them to improve their grades. When the Coach learned that a few of his players were failing in some of their classes and were not living up to the contract they’d signed, the tables were turned. Left with no alternative, he padlocked the gym and demanded his players report to the library. Carter not only closed the Richmond High School gym, but he banned all basketball-related activities and was prepared to cancel the entire season program, because 15 of the 45 players were not living up to the classroom achievements they agreed to meet in contracts they signed earlier in the semester.
Carter faced confrontation from his colleagues, parents and the school board over his decision. Colleagues were concerned about the school’s morale, parents were concerned about their son’s possible missed opportunity to be seen by college and NBA recruiters, and a missed season meant a loss of money for the district. However, Coach Carter’s methods proved successful and had a positive impact on the entire team and the school. It was one thing however, to have the students on track, but if there were no resources to facilitate the learning process the students would fail.
On November 1, 2000, Coach Carter decided to do something that would make people stand up and take notice to the plight of our educational system. Carter wanted to not only get the attention of the students and teachers, but the parents, neighbors, relatives and lawmakers. His charge for the past couple of years had been “Be A Part of the Solution”. Complaining about the state of education was not working and Coach Carter felt that if everyone stood up and did a part, we would finally be able to provide the education and resources our students need to succeed. It was under that premise that he came up with the idea of “Scooting for Schools and Education”. The Coach figured if people saw a grown man on a kick-scooter willing to scoot from Richmond High School to the steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento to take that message that more people would take notice and do their part. “Scooting for Schools and Education” was not a fundraiser. The purpose of this project was more important than raising money. It was to raise awareness to our troubled schools not only in Richmond, California, but nationwide. Coach Carter was scooting for better quality education for all children, challenging our students to obtain the tools they need to become a success in life.
Coach Carter offered solutions and challenges to make things happen. The challenges addressed were:
1. Students, to improve their reading and math scores, increase their grade point average (GPA), and assist their teachers in offering them a better education by taking an active role in learning. This will give both the students and their teachers a boost by raising the standards of campus life showing and giving respect to teachers, staff, and fellow students.
2. Parents, to make a special sacrifice and take a more active role in mentoring and volunteering.
3. The Community, for more school involvement through public service, i.e. mentoring, tutoring, beautification, and contributions.
4. School Boards, to work harder at making sure teachers receive the salary increases they deserve for assuring our students become the doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, policemen, congressmen, school board officials, etc. In addition, the School Board and lawmakers were challenged to reduce class sizes.
The above action was the birth of The Coach Ken Carter Foundation.