Results from the I Promise School supported by LeBron James are discouraging.
- I Promise operates in partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation
- It is a public school in Akron which aims to serve ‘students already falling behind’
I Promise School, part-funded by LeBron James and his foundation, has come under scrutiny from the state following revelation of alarming test scores.
The Akron, OH. public school, operates in conjunction with the LeBron James Family Foundation, has not had a sole student in its fall eighth-grade cohort pass the state math test since the third grade, per the Akron Beacon Journal.
James’ altruistic venture saw him help the school open in 2018 to serve ‘students who are already falling behind and in danger of falling through the cracks’, according to its website.
While there was data which revealed students from the school had improved year-on-year, some had in fact gone backward since attending I Promise.
According to the Journal, its black students and those with disabilities are testing ‘in the bottom 5%’ in Ohio.
School board president Derrick Hall believes the current state of the school is disheartening.
‘For me as a board member, I just think about all the resources that we’re providing,’ Hall said, via the Journal. And the fact that it doesn’t seem like the type of transition we would expect is happening simply makes me frustrated.
Keith Liechty-Clifford, the director of school improvement for the district, echoed the sentiment in the same report.
‘It is discouraging,’ he said of the of the eighth-graders’ results. According to the Journal, Liechty-Clifford displayed data which showed both progression and regression at the Akron school.
Students proficient in reading had more than doubled from 6% to 13% with regard to those moving from fourth to fifth grade according to the Journal report. Although, those in the 2022 sixth-grade class had just 2% proficiency, compared to a 7% rate during their fifth-grade education.
The school receives funding from state,
local and federal funding in a way not dissimilar than other state schools. Per a 2018 Cleveland Plain Dealer report, the school costs taxpayers approximately $8million per year.
James’ Family Foundation, which has reportedly donated $1.4m each year for more tutors and teachers, released a statement on the matter Monday.
‘When we started this work to wraparound students through education, we entered this partnership with Akron Public School for the long haul,’ it read.
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 are there for the highs and lows and will keep supporting our children and their families so they may succeed in school and in life despite the difficulties and setbacks they encounter.