Run to Win
by Eric Johnson

"These children were a never-ending supply, as natural a resource as you can get, willing players in the world’s biggest pimp game."

When Windrew Haynes defers law school to work in an inner-city school with Teach for America, his life and the lives of his students are changed forever. Teaching at Frederick Douglass High School in Philadelphia has its challenges. Still, Haynes is determined and committed to making a difference and working through the social issues that afflict the school and community. But he underestimates some of the sinister forces at work in the high school basketball program, which serves as an NBA pipeline that lines the pockets of many dangerous people in the neighborhood. Haynes is immediately in conflict with administrators and recruiters when he refuses to inflate grades or allow unruly basketball players to run on the cross-country team he coaches. With help from a few supportive parents, co-workers, and friends, he is able to confront a system that seeks to exploit young men and profit off their basketball dreams.

The classroom teaching and cross-country coaching scenes provide exceptional access to complex social issues at work in education and in poor urban communities that don't have access to fair and equitable resources. Radiating authenticity and complexity, Haynes' teaching journey offers deep insight into the joys and struggles of teaching. As a young man with a powerful African-American judge for a father, his future as a lawyer was secure. However, he chose a different path, becoming a teacher and a coach in a community that needed the courage and innovation of young people. Timely and inspirational in an era marked by educational crises and teacher shortages, the protagonist's story is an important one. Haynes is an inspiring role model for teachers and a voice in the darkness for students.

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