A few days ago the news came out on the opening of Lebron James’ school called the I Promise School. My inbox was flooded with people sending the news to me. Many people were asking me what my opinion of it is. Here it is.. It is absolutely great.
I haven’t been an NBA fan for a while. After the Bulls run was over and the team practically ceased to exist, I stopped watching a lot of professional basketball. Yes, I am a fair weather fan. I don’t care. What I do know is that I have extended family in the Cuyahoga Falls / Akron area of Ohio and when I visit there, the news is all about Lebron. Some of it is basketball, and some of it is what Mr. James is doing for the community. I have known for some time that Mr. James has been giving back to his neighborhood. A lot of that giving is in the field of education and hundreds of college scholarships for disadvantaged people.
Off the court, Mr. James has turned education systems on its head. He has done something that people in power have not done. He actually listened to what struggling communities needed. He lived it as well. He listened and lived it. The problem with educational systems is that they impose standards on a society that is vastly diverse. Basically, the people in power tell everybody what they think everyone needs to succeed. They don’t listen, they just tell. Again, Mr. James listened and lived what these young people need now.
Don’t be fooled that this is the one and only answer for disadvantaged people. It certainly won’t work for everyone who is in that situation. You will see the media blast at the faults in time. Try not to listen to that hype because learning is taking risks and failing forward. This school has the right idea to try something new. Because it will be under a microscope, traditional educators and people will see the faults and throw in the towel immediately. True educators will watch the faults happen and learn from them while continuing to support the cause of education.
You just have to choose which type of person you will be.
In the end, I look for more people with the means and power to actually change education to make it more equitable across the board like Mr. James did here. This should be a wake up call for those in power. Mr. James is a hero in my eyes not because of the rings on his fingers and his basketball skills, but because he is making a difference in trying new things in education.
For the record, Lebron beats Jordan in disrupting education.