West Seattle Dawg recently mentioned this education documentary, Race To Nowhere. I hadn't heard of it. Here's a blurb about it:
Director Vicki Abeles turns the personal political by igniting a national conversation in groundbreaking documentary about the pressures American schoolchildren and their teachers face moving into the 21 century. What started as a private family matter widened into a cogent examination of systematic pressures faced by youth and teachers today amid a focus on high stakes testing, competing in the global economy and increasingly unrealistic expectations of parents, universities, school districts and society at large. The demands have crushing, widespread consequences. Many students are disengaged, cheating is commonplace, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant and students arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.
Featuring the heartbreaking stories of young people who have been pushed to the brink, parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, and educators who are burned out and worried students aren’t developing the skills needed for the global economy, points to the silent epidemic running rampant in our schools.
Another one coming out (probably in wide release as it was at Sundance and got a release deal) is Waiting for Superman. From a review:
Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education “statistics” have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.
However, embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools, and ultimately questioning the role of unions in maintaining the status quo, Guggenheim offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have—in reshaping the culture—refused to leave their students behind.
This one is being marketed as "An Inconvenient Truth" for education. But it has the lineup of Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Michelle Rhee (chancellor of D.C. public schools) that puts me off a bit. Oddly, I can't find a website for it just a lot of reviews.
I'm not endorsing either (I haven't seen them) but they certain sound like an interesting contrast in viewpoints.