This week marked the opening of the “I Promise School” in Akron, Ohio founded by LeBron James. The school opened its doors to 240 3rd and 4th graders. These particular students have already started to fall behind academically, and have been deemed as at risk students. The LeBron James Foundation decided to partner with Akron Public Schools, and open this state of the art facility at a tune of $8 million dollars. The plan is by 2022 the school will have grades 1st through 8th grade.
For LeBron this was culmination of a dream and a goal he had set out to accomplish several years earlier. LeBron stated himslelf how he had missed over 80 days of school as a 4th grader. He and his mom who was a single parent were living from couch to couch. His home life was unstable like many young black boys, which continues to be an issue in the black community today. As a young boy LeBron would have fit the critea for admission into his school.
By all accounts the system was failing LeBron James. Often times we want to point at the short comings of the educational system, but the system as a whole has failed black youth for years. Every child needs a quality education, but how can a child receive a quality education if their home life is unstable. LeBron was being miseducated like many black children before him. The difference was LeBron possessed an elite talent to play basketball. This talent has allowed him to overcome those obstacles, and put him in the position to be able to open up his own school.
LeBron recoginzies the issues of those who come from a community that is impoverish. That is why he also going to have a food pantry for families who are food deficient. He is going to have A GED program and job placement services for the parents. For the students everyone will receive free breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The students will also receive a free bike and helmet along with free uniforms, and of course tuition and transportation is free. If every students goes on to complete high school they will be eligible to attend the University of Arkon for free.
The curriculum will not be the standard curriculum that is taught in most schools across the United States. The school will be using the S.T.E.M. cirriculum to educate the students. The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The classrooms will have no more than 20 students per class. This will help ensure that every student could get the attention that they deserve. The idea is that this curriculum will help prepare the students for an ever changing competitive workforce, which is now global.
Some of the criticism is that he decided to keep the public school model, instead of going the charter school route. The idea that one can have more control in the charter school setting verus the public school setting. Interesting enough one model is no different or any better than the other. They both receive funding from the government, the only difference is that the charter school is independently operated. My only criticism of LeBron is that he chose to work with a system that continues to mis education our children. I find interesting that a man who on the grand opening of school judging by the glasses he wore all the way down to his suit was obviously channeling his inner Maclom X, decided to partner with the system and open a school. Only LeBron knows the answer to that question, and I am sure he has his reasons for doing so.
Overall LeBron James did something wonderful by opening a school in his hometown for those who really need the help the most. Again I saw hate and criticism on social media towards LeBron and what his motivates maybe for opening this school. What ever his movtivates maybe, LeBron is a trailblazer off the court the moves that he is making has never been done on this level before. Although I may have an issue on how he chooses to fund his school. I will not take a way from this amazing accomplishment. He has also sparked the minds and hearts of other athletes, as they look to donate to schools and students across the country. We are living in a time where people in high positions of authority are purposely trying to divide people and bring dissension amongst us. In a world where it seems to be a never ending barrage of negativity, its going to take a collective effort to rid society of it’s social ills. Everybody has to be an active participant in their own liberation. So instead of being negative I chose to again salute and applaud LeBron James for his positive contribution to society.