Today, LeBron James' I Promise School opens in Akron, OH. In the education series I wrote in 2017, this school was talked about. In the era of Charter schools and online education, no one has done it quite like LeBron.
There is an achievement gap (scores, words, etc) among children in poverty. This gap starts early and separates the haves from the have nots. Statistics have shown that, regardless of circumstances, students do fine in school until about 3rd grade. Or, said another way: all students have a chance - until 3rd grade.
It is at this age, and grade, that the circumstances of home and economics come in to play. It is from 3rd grade and beyond that it takes a village to help with a child. The supports are needed. Everyone knows this. What they don't know, is how to deal with it.
A lot of school districts 'partner' with Universities, Colleges, and Mentors. They pair kids with someone from some school and leave it at that. The second the student leaves the district, the supports are gone and the students often fail. The graduation college rates of students (especially minorities) within 6-years of their high school graduation are atrocious. In Chicago, it was 6%. In Grand Rapids, it's worse.
There are a lot of reasons for this. One is that a lot of these students are the first in their family to go to college. While this is awesome, the practicality is that no one in their family knows how hard the education is, and therefore no one can really help them succeed. Another is that when the student has a hard time with a professor, class, or other such problem, they do not know how to deal with it. They are not used to fighting an institution, and do not realize that people will help you; so, they face a problem and it's over.
The I Promise School has a system in place for all this. The school has partnered with The University of Akron. The students begin their 3rd grade education with this partnership. They have people at the University to advocate for them, to show them how to be successful, and to be with them once they go to college. AND, the college is free.
This is real success. This comes from LeBron James. He's been working on the school for a decade, and it begins today. It is an example of excellence, and is a model we should all pay attention to.
Thank you LeBron, well done.