Education is the way out of many kinds of trouble. Most agree with that and yet few politicians/governments are willing to make it a priority. Expecially in the United States. Whether Democrats or Republicans. Each have had a chance to right this particular ship and haven’t. Primary and secondary schools are a mess with only the rich being able to access adequate ones. While post secondary education puts many students in six figure debt by the end of it.
All this mess is even worse if you are a person of colour. Especially for males. In 2004 a Columbia University study was released which showed that 75% of all crimes in New York City come from seven neighbourhoods. Not surprisingly all these neighbourhoods are largely black and poor. These are the frontlines of inequality. Where the battles are being fought. Schools in these areas are terribly underfunded and as such young black males end up dropping out in high numbers.
All this lead to David C. Banks along with the 100 Black Men organization wanting to do something about it. So he began Eagle Academy. These are schools in largely poor areas. The six schools are all public, meaning they operate and are funded by the Department of Education, and admit only males, who tend to be black or brown. Over the 14 years in existence Eagle Academy has been a success story. Besides a high rate of graduation, 87% as opposed to the national average of 59% for black and brown males, it also sees 98% of graduates go on to colleges or universities across the United States.
We need more stories like this. They tend not to come to the public’s attention, however. We only hear about the bad stuff, not the good stuff. We need more hope. More proof that what we see as impossible is doable. That it just takes the will and effort.
This short documentary (39 minutes) shows the power of education. How having someone show they care and believe in you can make all the difference in the world. Even to those who society fears or have written off. How when these young black or brown males are afforded the opportunity for success that when they do succeed that it not only benefits them and their families, but also the communities they live in.
The Infamous Future is availabe on HBO Max exclusively.