Although education is regularly referred to as the “great equalizer,” in the United States, that is frequently not the case. Many children in low-income areas are getting a sub-par education that does not set them up for success when they grow older.
Luckily, NBA superstar LeBron James recognizes the trappings of low-income neighborhoods (he came from one) and is doing something about it. James’ I Promise school opened earlier this week, welcoming 240 third- and fourth-graders who were deemed to be underperforming in their current schools. The school is public, formed through a partnership with Akron Public Schools and the LeBron James Family Foundation.
Pictures of LeBron James’ I Promise School, which opened in Akron, Ohio today. pic.twitter.com/dOZtwWL8L7
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 30, 2018
The school doesn’t just promise a hands-on STEM-based curriculum, it also seeks to mitigate some of the other stressors unique to schoolchildren in low-income schools and neighborhoods. I Promise gives each student free tuition, a free uniform, free bike and helmet, free breakfast, lunch and snacks, guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for graduates, access to a daily food pantry, and GED and job placement help for the students’ parents.
The LeBron James Family Foundation seems to have done their research and covered just about all of their bases when it comes to making a difference in education.
LeBron James (@KingJames) tells @DonLemon that he is "excited and truly humbled and blessed" to open his 'I Promise' elementary school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. https://t.co/2HXF5tXQTA pic.twitter.com/zQcyfQILVA
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) July 31, 2018
@KingJames wants the next great police officer, politician, musician and other greats to come from his I Promise School, which opened today. Catch our exclusive interview with him soon on @ohiodotcom @LJFamFoundation @akronschools pic.twitter.com/AH5Cim8OmU
— Theresa Bennett (@_TheresaBennett) July 30, 2018
The school has just 240 students now, but plans to scale up to 1,000 by 2022, with students from first to eighth grade.
According to a report from Cleveland.com:” School days run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., July through May, to eliminate what educators call the “slide” that many kids experience over the summer. During the seven weeks between the next school year, various STEM-based camps will be offered.”
James referred to this as one of greatest moments of his life in a tweet this weekend.
The jitters before the first day of school are real right now!!! Tomorrow is going to be one of the greatest moments (if not the greatest) of my life when we open the #IPROMISE School. This skinny kid from Akron who missed 83 days of school in the 4th grade had big dreams… https://t.co/PwmRaHRfng
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 29, 2018
.@BarackObama and I are so proud of @KingJames and @IPROMISESchool. Kids in Akron and across the US are lucky to have you as a role model on and off the court. Keep using your platform for good and giving our kids a chance to shoot for the stars. ?? #ReachHigher #BetterMakeRoom pic.twitter.com/hyS6UM2A7b
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 31, 2018
This is an excellent move from James and can hopefully be a model to our governments about what it takes for education to really be an equalizer.