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He has tapped longtime advisor David Banks for the position of chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.
Banks is the son of a police officer, raised in Southeast Queens, who has taught in Crown Heights and led several city schools.
The announcement came at PS 161 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where Banks attended elementary school.
“David Banks is built for this,” said Adams. “David Banks is ready for this.”
Banks was by the mayor elect’s side throughout the campaign.
He founded the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice in 1997, which current Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter coincidentally took over years later.
Banks left to establish the first Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx, the city’s first all-boys public high school to open in more than three decades.
Today, the Eagle Academy is a network of six schools — one in each borough and Newark — and has become a national model.
The all-male schools are focused on closing the achievement gap with inner city boys in grades six through 12, keeping them in school, out of gangs and hopefully on to college.
Students of color at the Eagle Academy have graduation rates of almost 90%, compared to the national rate just under 60%.
The formula is a mix of parental involvement, academic rigor and mentoring.
Banks will use that experience as he take over the largest school district in the country, a massive $38 billion bureaucracy.
“It wasn’t easy to figure out how to create a school that would really meet the needs of black and brown boys where we realized that so many of them are facing so many difficult challenges, trauma in their lives, gangs in the neighborhood, confrontations with police,” Banks told Sandra Bookman on abc7ny’s ‘Here and Now.’ “But we have beat the odds.”
Banks has said his first priorities include expanding childhood education options and career pathways for older students.
“Unfortunately our school treats everybody like it’s a one size that fits all and that doesn’t work,” he said.
Banks could become one of the most disruptive chancellors since Mayor Mike Bloomberg brought in Joel Klein.
He has promised to take bold action to weed out weak teachers.
And like Mayor-elect Adams, he supports charter schools — unlikely to gain much support from the powerful teachers union.
Banks is also the brother of former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks, who is advising Adams on law enforcement.
Now that Adams is back from a vacation in Ghana, we can expect many more of these cabinet announcements in the coming days.
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Source: This post first appeared on abc7NY