There have been a number of documentaries and specials on the state of public education recently. All of which, I feel I must watch to get a sense of what is happening in our schools.
You should too.
Harper High School - February 15, 2013 - This American Life
We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. We found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter.
Featured on: This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 1.8 million listeners. It is produced by Chicago Public Media, distributed by Public Radio International, and has won all of the major broadcasting awards. It is also often the most popular podcast in the country, with around 700,000 people downloading each week. Read more about the weekly broadcast HERE.
180 School Days: A Year Inside an American High School - March 25, 2013 - PBS
To educators, Washington Metropolitan High School (DC Met) is an alternative school with a devoted staff. To district leaders, it is a failure. To many of the school’s students, it is home – a safe haven from sometimes unsparingly difficult lives. Whatever one’s vantage, 180 Days: A Year inside an American High School provides an intimate portrait of this fledgling school’s day-to-day stories, condensing a full school year – 180 days – into four hours (2 two-hour episodes).
With a dynamic and charismatic young principal and five remarkable kids at the center of the story, 180 Days invites viewers in for an unprecedented first-hand look of life inside of a school that tries to meet the needs of some of our nation’s most challenged students.
Can't Hold Me Back - PBS 2013 Online Film Festival
Can't Hold Me Back follows Fernando Parraz as he becomes the first in his family to earn a high school diploma — his ticket out of the struggles of inner-city poverty and violence. With a mountain of roadblocks stacked against his educational achievement, Fernando finds support from an unlikely figure: his father — a former gangster who has suffered the costs of his own mistakes.
Education Under Arrest - Tavis Smiley Reports, PBS - March 26, 2013
Many public schools are still operating under the 1999 “Zero Tolerance” initiative, which tied federal funding to this mandate. “Zero Tolerance,” which came about after the horrifying Columbine tragedy, demands that kids be removed from schools the first time they transgress—even for minor offenses. This puts them into the juvenile justice system—a system that those who work within its confines admit too often does a better job of punishment than rehabilitation and re-integration into schools.
Explore more about the School to Prison Pipeline HERE.