Education Reform on the Big Screen
Since the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983, we have heard the constant refrain that our public schools fail to prepare students for participation in the evolving global economy. However, the public has expressed wariness about reform because there is a disconnect between the perception of an individual family’s education experience compared to the education system as a whole. This year, the film industry and education reformers hope to change that.
Throughout 2010, several films are tackling various problems within our education system. Although each comes from a different angle, the unequivocal message underlying each movie is clear: the status quo needs to change. Films include:
- Waiting for Superman – Chronicles five students across the country as they apply for access into a local charter school while providing parallel analysis on the failures of the nation’s school system as a whole.
- The Lottery – Highlights the struggle of four families in Harlem and the Bronx who have entered the lottery in order to attend one of the local high-performing charter schools.
- Race to Nowhere – Depicts the negative consequences on students and teachers as they work within a high-stakes public school environment.
- The Cartel – Highlights struggling New Jersey communities seeking to provide a better education for their students while simultaneously analyzing the political and financial forces fighting to maintain the status quo.
Although the effect of these films on the national education reform conversation is not yet known, we hope that every viewer walks away inspired to demand the best education possible for every student.