By CultureBanx Team
LeBron’s I Promise school population is 60% black
Public school choice often leads to a variety of education models
Basketball great LeBron “King” James’ I Promise school is doing exactly what its name implies by helping to close the education achievement gap. His educational philanthropy allowed 90% of students at the school to meet or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math. Can these type of scores be replicated through school choice across the country in similar economically impoverished areas?
Why This Matters: Education choice breaks the arbitrary link between a child’s housing and the school he or she can attend. With the I Promise school’s 60% black population and nearly 75% of its families are low income, they are proving why this model is so important. Not to mention 90% of I Promise students who met their goals exceeded the 70% of students districtwide, which the district said showed that students’ test scores increased at a higher rate than 99 out of 100 schools nationally.
Public school choice often leads to a variety of education models that can meet the needs and interests of a variety of students. Research shows that public school student performance in both Florida and Milwaukee improved after the launch of new school choice opportunities.
Specifically, I Promise is not a private charter school but a public school operated by the district. The school’s $2 million budget is funded by the district through taxes and federal money. However, the main difference is that LeBron’s foundation provided about $600,000 in support for additional teaching staff to help reduce class sizes, and an additional hour of after-school programming and tutors, it’s clearly working.
What’s Next: The I Promise program supports more than 1,000 other students across the Akron public school district, pouring in an estimated at $2.6 million for this school year. LeBron’s school is expected to serve 720 students in third through eighth grade by 2022. Hopefully we will see more of these schools open around the country.
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Disclosure: The Walton Family Foundation provides financial support to CultureBanx