Basketball legend LeBron James’ backed “I Promise School” in Akron, Ohio isn’t living up to the reputation of the celebrity-athlete who has put his time and resources into it, and the abysmal test scores prove that.
The I Promise School, a school for at-risk students started by James in order to provide additional academic opportunities and resources for his hometown, has shown in a recent report that none of the students in the school’s eighth-grade fall class passed Ohio’s standardized math test. In fact, they haven’t had any passing scores for years, it seems.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the last time any of the students examined in a recent report by Akron Public Schools (APS) passed the state’s math test was when they were third graders. An official from APS told the Journal that the findings in this report were nothing less than “discouraging” to say the least.
“It is discouraging,” said district director of school improvement Keith Liechty-Clifford.
The official mission statement of the I Promise School is to help “those students who are already falling behind and in danger of falling through the cracks.” After these test result findings, maybe they should offer the kids a free Max subscription so they can watch LeBron ruin the ‘Space Jam’ franchise instead.
While the I Promise School is a public school and receives local, state, and federal funding like any other public school, it operates in partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation. This adds a layer of involvement and resources beyond what is typically available in a standard public school setting.
In addition to academic support, the I Promise School provides resources such as a food pantry for families, GED classes for parents, and job placement assistance for family members. Furthermore, LeBron James has launched initiatives like the I Promise Housing development to provide affordable housing units in Akron.
Despite having the best of intentions though, ultimately this bad report card is raising serious concerns among school officials in the district. School board President Derrick Hall told reporters how disappointed he was with the results.
“For me as a board member, I just think about all the resources that we’re providing,” said Hall. “And I just, I’m just disappointed that I don’t think, it doesn’t appear like we’re seeing the kind of change that we would expect to see.”
A statement issued later by the LeBron James Family Foundation stated that “When we started this work to wraparound students through education, we entered this partnership with Akron Public School for the long haul.
“Because this work requires a long-term commitment, hard work, and a lot of love and care. And that’s what we bring each and every day because the I Promise School is more than a school. We’re here for the ups and downs, and will continue to wraparound our students and their entire families so they can be successful in school and in life, no matter the challenges and obstacles that come their way.”
Let’s hope that for the sake of the students, LeBron’s school actually keeps their hefty promise.