What LeBron James Can Teach North Carolina About Fully Funding Schools

This week on ESPN.com, a story was released that highlighted LeBron James’s recent foray into helping the local school system.

AKRON, Ohio — LeBron James drove down the streets he grew up on Monday afternoon and parked his vehicle outside the I Promise School that he helped build before roaming the halls for the first time.

The Akron native’s LeBron James Family Foundation partnered with the Akron Public Schools system to create the learning center, which opened its doors for the first time to 240 third- and fourth-grade students who enrolled in the full-immersion program to benefit at-risk youth (http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24236039/lebron-james-unveils-school-akron-heading-la).

While people may assume that it might be like what Andre Agassi and Pitbull created in the realm of the charter school industry, what LeBron did was actually open a school in Akron that works with the public school system and renovates an old city building.

And it does a lot more.

Like pay attention to the fact that poverty has so much to do with how students perform.


Food, transportation, college tuition, parental support, uniforms, longer school days, services for mental and physical threats, etc.

And a bike. Exercise.

There is no prescribed price tag for per-pupil expenditure or the length at which the school will help kids and families.

In North Carolina we are dealing with almost the exact opposite. We don’t even have a nurse in every school on any given day.

Maybe what LeBron is showing is that when investment in public schools is a priority, then students are better prepared to succeed. He is also showing that wrap-around services are vital.

And his “school” works in conjunction with the local public school system – not a charter school set up in an area free from public control using public money to pay some private entity.