Another education documentary: The Lottery

Posted: July 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

I checked out the link to a documentary on education called The Lottery . I’m not too sure about this one (haven’t seen it yet, as it is only available in select cities). The documentary appears to follow African American students and their families as they attempt to gain admission to charter schools. Students are placed in a lottery, thus the name of the documentary, and hope that their number is called or they will have to try for another school or stay in their neighborhood school.

I’m a little turned off immediately upon viewing the trailer. The founder of Harlem Success Academy, Eva Moskowitz, opens up the trailer by saying,

“The problem is not the parents; the problem is not the children. The problem is a system that protects academic failure.”

I’m so tired of the blame being taken away from the parents. Yes, I understand that it takes a complicated equation to equal a well-balanced education. Parents are a huge factor and sometimes they are part of the problem. In addition, I disagree with the statement that the system protects academic failure. To me, statements like that are overly biased.  Yes, the system creates academic failure, but protects it? Is that really the best choice of words?

“A hundred percent of our children ace the exam,” exclaims a staff member of a charter school. Now, according to this documentary, charter schools are taking students in based on a lottery, meaning they have to apply in the first place. The majority of these charter school students have motivated, interested parents advocating for their children, so wouldn’t it make sense that students with supportive parents are more likely to ace the exams than students who are left in neighborhood public schools because their parents never sent applications to charter schools?

Yes, we need change. That’s been said and is old news. This film just seems a little too dramatic with wording. Maybe I’ll feel differently once I get a chance to see the entire documentary, if it ever becomes available.


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