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Sports star's dollars back poorer pupils;Briefing;International

UNITED STATES

Ranking his own teachers among his role models, retired basketball superstar Michael Jordan has pledged $5 million (pound;3.1 m) to teachers who work in schools that serve low-income students.

The "Jordan Fundamentals" programme will be underwritten by a portion of the proceeds Michael Jordan receives from sales of the Nike basketball shoe that bears his name.

"My own desire and ability to succeed are the result of many blessings, none greater than the excellent role models I had," he said.

"Now I have the opportunity to thank the teachers who have helped me to prepare for my life off the court."

Every year for the next five years, awards of $2,500 will be given to each of 400 teachers who demonstrate instructional creativity and set high learning standards in schools where at least 40 per cent of the students come from low-income families.

"These grants will support the vital work performed by some of America's best teachers," US Education Secretary Richard Riley said.

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