LeBron James’ I Promise School Students Have Been Shooting Airballs On Statewide Math Tests For Years

LeBron James is known for his work in education through The LeBron James Family Foundation. Still, one of his most famous initiatives, the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, has disappointing news that rising eighth graders have not passed the math component of the state proficiency exam since the 2018-2019 school year.

The students were third graders during that time.

“When we started this work to wraparound students through education, we entered this partnership with Akron Public School for the long haul,” a LeBron James Family Foundation spokesperson said to Complex. “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 wraparound 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.”

The school launched in 2018 to provide help to at-risk students. The testing period was during the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought unexpected challenges. However, it is still a horrible look for a school that is supposed to be a beacon of hope and progress in northeast Ohio.

What Happened?

“One of the things I’m most excited about coming into the I Promise School is the optimism and energy around getting our students to a level of achievement we know they’re capable of,” Stephanie Davis, the new principal, said in an email to Complex. “At the recent Board meeting, our preliminary OST data was shared, but it’s important to note that proficiency is based on mastering grade-level standards. Our students have not yet met the grade-level mastery mark, but they are demonstrating growth based on iReady scores.

“Of our incoming 8th graders, 32% met their annual typical growth in reading while 11% met their stretch goal for the year. Despite not mastering the grade-level standards, 42% of students demonstrated growth in iReady math across their 7th grade school year. When working with students who are achieving below grade level, growth is as important as a measure of progress as proficiency. And the type of growth that is important to us is not made overnight. It takes time.”

LeBron James lives in a veritable bulletproof publicity zone, but his school might become a chink in his good press armor.

Back to top