Members of the Akron Public School Board have launched severe criticism against LeBron James’ I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, following a troubling revelation. Recent reports have brought to light that the incoming 8th-grade class for this year has not seen a single student pass the state math test in over three years.
Despite receiving significant financial backing from the James Foundation, along with local, state and federal funding, the I Promise School’s academic performance among students has been deeply troubling. As a result, these students now find themselves testing in the bottom 5% of the entire state.
Happening Now: for the 3rd year in a row, 8th graders at Lebron James ‘I Promise” school had 0 students pass the state level math exams.
The school was opened in Akron and targets at risk youth. Some funding comes from the Lebron James Foundation, but the rest of the funding… pic.twitter.com/b0sIiCpqPS
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) July 28, 2023
Due to the alarming test scores, the Ohio Department of Education will be intervening at the I Promise School. This step is being taken as a last-ditch effort to reverse the downward trend in test performance and tackle the challenges the school is currently confronting.
The Ohio Department of Education has also expressed concern regarding the school’s performance, specifically noting that black students and those with disabilities are testing in the bottom 5% of students in the state.
During Monday’s meeting, School Board President Derrick Hall expressed his astonishment, mentioning that it was the first time in his nearly four years on the board that he had seen such a comprehensive overview of the school’s performance.
Hall said, “For me, as a board member, I just think about all the resources that we’re providing. 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.”
As stated on its website, the I Promise School, operating as a public school in partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation, was established in July 2018 with a clear mission to provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable students and families in Akron.
The school offers various benefits, including free tuition, free uniforms, free bicycles with helmets, free transportation within a two-mile radius, complimentary breakfast, lunch, snacks and a food pantry to support families in need.
In addition to the regular state funding allocated to the school, the LeBron James Family Foundation contributes $1.4 million annually. This generous donation is utilized to hire additional tutors and teachers, ultimately leading to reduced class sizes and enhanced educational support for the students.
The foundation released a statement on Monday, saying, “When we started this work to wrap around 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 wrap around 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.”