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Narrated by Sarah Jones

Directed, Produced,
Photographed and Edited
Robbie Leppzer

Original Music by
Oliver Johnson

A Turning Tide Production

Nationally Broadcast On Free Speech TV

58 minutes • DVD

includes 25 Minutes
Of Additional Material

Watch A Video Excerpt

       For many years, America has faced a crisis in urban education. Too many urban schools suffer from low test scores, unsafe environments, and high dropout rates. The stark achievement gap between public schools in U.S. cities and those in affluent suburbs is perhaps the leading civil rights issue of our time, with the fate of millions of children determined simply by where they live.

       In Massachusetts, charter schools were created 15 years ago as part of a comprehensive education reform effort to address this gap. They are public schools that operate independent of local school districts and are free of charge. In exchange for the freedom to innovate, charter schools must demonstrate improved student achievement, or risk being shut down.

       BEATING THE ODDS takes us inside three high-performing urban charter schools in the Boston area that serve mostly low-income, Black and Latino students, many of whom are several grade levels behind academically when they enroll. These schools set records for achievement and send the vast majority of their students on to college.

        How do these schools deliver on the fundamental promise of equal educational opportunity, particularly for historically under-served, urban students?  What lessons do they offer?  How are these schools helping to turn around the crisis in urban education?

        Through interviews with students, teachers, and school leaders, as well as scenes depicting daily life inside the classroom and at school-wide events, BEATING THE ODDS presents an engaging examination of what makes these schools successful.

        BEATING THE ODDS will be of interest to anyone concerned with education and educational reform, including teachers, public school administrators, college professors of education, college students pursuing education degrees, education reform advocates, and parents.

        BEATING THE ODDS includes 25 minutes of additional chapters designed for teachers, in the DVD Extras section, plus a half-hour version of the documentary which focuses on one school.

        Filmmaker Robbie Leppzer is available for speaking engagements on college campuses with
For more information about speaking presentations, click here.

•  Watch An Excerpt of BEATING THE ODDS


        "BEATING THE ODDS is a powerful testimony for what can be done for upgrading education and breaking the cycle of poverty for many of society’s children.
        This documentary holds many insights for making schooling more relevant and rigorous while also developing those meaningful relationships between the students and their teachers.
        BEATING THE ODDS is a wonderful documentary detailing how three urban schools are making a difference in the lives of their students.  I use the video in my university graduate curriculum class.          Educators working on advanced degrees study this documentary to gain deeper insights into what works and to see best practices in action. The documentary will be a springboard for an engaging discussion in my curriculum class."
        — Martha Pennington, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Education, East Central University


Education • Educational Reform • Teacher Training and Professional Development • Children, Youth and Families • Urban Studies • Multicultural Studies • African American Studies • Latino Studies • Civil Rights • Sociology

58 minutes • DVD

DVD Extras includes 25 Minutes Of Additional Material

Purchase Price
Individuals - $29.95
• Community Organizations
   (Public Libraries, High Schools, and Community Groups) - $99
• Institutions (Colleges and Universities) - $249


SPECIAL NOTE: BEATING THE ODDS: Inside Three Urban Charter Schools updates and replaces an earlier, longer version of this documentary, BEATING THE ODDS: Inside Five Urban Charter Schools
(111 minutes).  Scenes from all five schools, filmed in the earlier version, are included in the DVD Extras of the updated documentary.

Produced in collaboration with Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. 
For more information about charter schools, visit: www.masscharterschools.org

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