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.
"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.
RECOMMENDED SUBJECT AREAS
Education • Educational Reform • Teacher Training and Professional Development • Children, Youth and Families • Urban Studies • Multicultural Studies • African American Studies • Latino Studies • Civil Rights • Sociology
BEATING THE ODDS
•DVD Extras includes 25 Minutes Of Additional Material
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
Produced in collaboration with Massachusetts Charter Public School Association.
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