LeBron James speaks at the opening of the I Promise School.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

LeBron James' 'I Promise School' Is Under Fire Over Test Scores

The "I Promise School" built by LeBron James is under fire after reports indicated that the school is struggling with test scores.

LeBron James, arguably one of the greatest NBA players of all time, opened the "I Promise School" in 2018, but it appears to be falling short of expectations.

The school, located in James' hometown of Akron, Ohio, had a goal of helping improve the lives of at-risk children.

No one can fault the intent here, but it seems something has gone awry. Test scores are poor among students at the school.

"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," according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

How Did The "I Promise School" Get Here?

The "I Promise School" in Akron, Ohio

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Interestingly, this wasn't always the case.

"Their first year in the school, when they were in the third grade, 17% of the class tested proficient in math," the report continues. "The following year, there were no tests because of COVID, and ever since, they have not had one student pass the test."

There was also an issue with the English test, as only eight percent of students at the school were deemed to be "proficient."

"Two of I Promise's biggest subgroups, Black students and those with disabilities, are now testing in the bottom 5% in the state," the Journal also reported.

The Ohio Department of Education is getting involved in the school, supported by the LeBron James Family Foundation.

In addition to foundation support, the school receives local, state and federal funding, which is normal for any public school. Taxpayers in the district pay $8 million per year toward the school.

"The (media) coverage made it look like the whole thing is his," Akron Public Schools district spokesman Mark Williamson told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He did a lot, but taxpayers should know it's their investment, too."

While this is a school, it also provides students with free breakfast, lunch, snacks, transportation within two miles, bicycles, helmets, access to a food pantry, uniforms, and their tuition guaranteed, thanks to the University of Akron.

These are all valuable things to provide, but the test scores aren't putting "promise" in the I Promise School.

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