LeBron James’ foundation is laying the blame for three years of low test scores at his I Promise school in Akron, Ohio, at least in part, on the pandemic, according to a statement.
James’ school has not just had low test scores for more than three years. It has suffered some of the lowest scores of all of Akron’s schools and has not seen a single 8th grader pass the state’s math standards during the entire period.
In fact, since James’ school opened in 2018, his now eighth-grade kids have proven to have the lowest performance of the Akron school system despite the I Promise school’s claims to have created a new and improved way to teach kids.
Victoria McGee, senior director for the Lebron James Family Foundation, told WKYC-TV that the I Promise kids are already behind in academics before they even get to the school.
“We believe our students are more than a test score,” McGee told the station. “Yes, our students – yes, they come to us and they are behind, and we do our best. And we have some strategic things that we’re putting in place to help our students move along the way. So, we’re excited.”
But, even with all the “promising” going on, the school is failing its students miserably all across the board, especially in math. WKYC noted that none of the I Promise school’s grade levels have more than a 1 percent proficiency in math, whereas even the low-rated Akron city schools — some of the worst in the state — have achieved at least a 17.6 percent math proficiency level.
WKYC added that all five grades at James’ school have fallen behind the rest of the state in testing scores.
- 6.6% proficiency in English language arts
- 11.5% in math
- 5.9% in English language arts
- 9.9% in math
- Fifth grade
- 7.1% in English language arts
- 1.0% in math
- 4.0% in science
- 3.1% in English language arts
- 0.0% in math
- 8.2% in English language arts
- 1.0% in math
The school explained its deficits by telling WKYC that the pandemic caused severe disruptions in its plans and pointed out that the 2018 school year found its students with a 17.4 percent level in math just before the pandemic hit. However, that was still below the rest of the city’s already low levels.
The alarmingly low numbers have caused the Akron School Board to take a more serious look at LeBron James’ I Promise school and to direct more city resources toward helping students bring their scores up.
The state of Ohio is also paying attention to the school’s failures. “Two of I Promise’s biggest subgroups of students, Black students and those with disabilities, are now testing in the bottom 5% in the state, landing the school on the Ohio Department of Education’s list of those requiring targeted intervention,” Yahoo News reported.
Akron school board President Derrick Hall told the media he was “disappointed” by the abject failure rate at LeBron James’ much-celebrated school.
“For me as a board member, I just think about all the resources that we’re providing,” Hall told the media. “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.”