Ashanti's $20K high school lesson

The singer and actress Ashanti brought a positive message to Atlantic City High School recently -- and brought home $20,000.

Talk about positive!

The Grammy Award winner, whose new CD is expected to drop soon, appeared at the school June 1. The Press of Atlantic City reports  Ashanti spoke to students, including at assemblies, and also sat down for an interview with WAJM-FM, the student radio station. A YouTube video of that on-the-air chat is here.

Critics have pounced, particularly on the price tag. And a celebrity meet-and-greet hardly seems tantamount to "improving instructional services," the purpose of the special school account that paid for the gig.

But it's worth remembering that last year, Rutgers-New Brunswick paid another single-named celebrity -- Snooki -- $32K to appear on campus; her message to students was "study hard, party harder" (uh, thanks, girlfriend).

Unlike Snooki, whose talents for anything other than partying and self-promotion appear negligible at best, Ashanti is a hard-working professional, recently honored by The Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

But,  with all due her Twitter feed blows up in the wake of today's reports in the Inquirer and elsewhere, Ashanti -- who hasn't had a hit in a bit -- might want to consider giving her $20K back to AC High.

Now, that would be positive.