How and why one man helped start an all-boys public school in New York City.
Concerned with the number of young men in New York who seemed destined to wind up in prison due to their race and socioeconomic status, Banks decided to try to change the pattern. Along with a group of men called the One Hundred Black Men, they founded the Eagle Academy for Young Men, a public school catering to just boys. From its rough beginnings to its successful current state, Banks, with co-author Lichtenberg (co-author: Know What Makes Them Tick: How to Successfully Negotiate Almost Any Situation, 2010, etc.), gives readers an in-depth look at the methods he used to help at-risk boys become productive, successful members of society. "The Eagle Method is not specific to race or socioeconomic status," writes Banks. "It is a philosophy and a set of practical strategies that can be adapted to embrace and support young men of any background to achieve their promise and potential." School days are longer than the average, with boys attending classes until 5:00 p.m., plus weekend activities. By dismissing students along with the teachers, rather than their peers, who might influence Eagle students into trying alcohol, drugs and other risky behaviors, Eagle students are kept occupied and safe from attitudes that contradict the academy’s model. Students are grouped into houses, similar to those in Harry Potter's world, and they eat together and participate in extracurricular activities together, building a sense of community. Ultimately, the instructors seek to assess the needs of each individual boy and fill in the missing gaps that might prevent a student from achieving his full potential. After 30 years and hundreds of success stories, many of which are included, Banks' method works.
A must-read for those concerned with the welfare of young men.