LeBron James is a G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) on the basketball court. But all that greatness has yet to trickle down in the LeBron James-supported I Promise School classrooms in Akron, Ohio.
A new Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ) report said, "This fall's class of eighth graders at the I Promise School hasn't had a single student pass the state's math test since the group was in the third grade."
The revelations were alarming to some Akron Board of Education members who asked for the data on the school's progress that opened in 2018 as a part of the Akron Public Schools system and partially funded by the LeBron James Family Foundation.
During last week's board meeting, Akron Public Schools board member Valerie McKitrick said, "Not one? In three years?"
"It is discouraging," responded Keith Liechty-Clifford, the district's director of school improvement.
ABJ said some board members are questioning whether I Promise is meeting its goals of helping students who are two or more years behind grade level.
Ohio school board officials are concerned I Promise School, which is 60% black and 28% of the 554 students have disabilities, is failing the youth:
"The state has also issued its first concern about the school: 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," ABJ reported.
Board President Derrick Hall voiced concern about the apparent lack of improvement for most I Promise School test scores, even though the students were given abundant resources during Covid.
"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," Hall said.
The school receives local, state, and federal funding as any other public school, as well as $1.4 million from LeBron's foundation.
I Promise released a statement about the disappointing test results, deflecting the short-term problems by indicating, "When we started this work to wraparound students through education, we entered this partnership with Akron Public School for the long haul."
While there was no official statement for the exact reason behind the terrible test scores, mounting evidence shows children suffered significant learning loss during Covid lockdowns.