Giving Compass’ Take:
• The author examines Lebron James’ new school and sees the potential for the global development sector to learn from this evidence-based holistic approach to education.
• Can philanthropists and nonprofit organizations also learn from this school?
• Read more about James’ evidence-based approach.
LeBron James and the city of Akron haven’t simply built a school; they have developed a system that takes into account the many obstacles that families must overcome for many at-risk students to succeed. Global development organizations have much to learn from I Promise’s thoughtful approach. Specifically, here are three lessons they should apply to their own work:
Lesson 1: Study the problem, and then start small. In its first year, I Promise will house just third and fourth graders. Over the next several years, however, it hopes to grow to support grades one through eight. This approach will enable the school to apply the lessons it learns in its first few years before scaling its operations in a more sustainable manner.
Lesson 2: Symptoms are signals of a deeper problem, not causes of that problem. All too often in the world of global development we focus on fixing the symptoms of poverty and struggle to get at the root cause. Perhaps thanks to the fact that Lebron was once an at-risk child himself, his foundation seems to understand that symptoms of poverty, like when a child skips school or doesn’t do his homework, are just signals of a deeper problem.
Lesson 3: System problems require system solutions. The LJFF understands that many of the challenges facing its students and families are interrelated, or systemic, so it developed a radical system-level approach to education. Likewise, many development organizations are recognizing how disparities in health, sanitation, education, and other barriers to prosperity are interrelated. As these organizations work to lift communities out of poverty, they should focus on developing system-level solutions for their system-level problems.
Read the full article about global development lessons from Lebron James school by Efosa Ojomo at Christensen Institute
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