Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: The Lottery

The Lottery is a 2010 education documentary about how four families try to get their children into the premier charter school in Harlem, the Harlem Success Academy.  I watched this with my daughter last night.  At least ten times my daughter said "This is so sad."  I told her this is part of the reason we homeschool.

The movie is well done and flows well.  It follows these families.  The parents want good educations, but they recognize their children won't get it at the public schools.  I came to care about the children and was sad that they have been so handicapped in life and that the public schools are doing a poor job of educating students.  The movie covers many of the basic problems with government schools.  Here are some of the places the public schools are failing:

1) The average black 12th grader performs as well as the average white 8th grader.
2) 58% of black 4th graders are functionality illiterate.
3) Out of 23 public schools in Harlem 19 of them have fewer than 50% reading at grade level.

In contrast Harlem Success Academy students are going off to college.  In the year The Lottery was filmed, there was 3000 applicants trying for 400 slots. 

One of the most painful parts was watching people fighting Harlem Success Academy's efforts to expand.  Here is a charter school which is succeeding.  By objective measurements the students are way beyond the regular public schools, yet because the teacher unions feel threatened there is great opposition to Harlem Success Academy starting a third charter school.  This is a classic example of how politics is destroying public education in America. 

If you want a better understanding how and why public schools are so broken then watch this movie.  You'll come to understand why so many public school teachers send their children to private schools.

Here is the trailer:

My reviews of the 2010 Education Documentaries:
Race to Nowhere - Students are kept extremely busy.
The Cartel - Problems with public schools in New Jersey.
Waiting for Superman - Public schools are broken, but no one is powerful enough to save them.
The Lottery - Many oppose a successful charter school and the children suffer.


Jen said...

ty for visiting my blog and letting me know about carnivals, I'll def look into it more! I'm following you on GFC! Thanks!

Derrick Hibbard said...

Hello, I couldn't find a link to contact you. My name is Derrick Hibbard and I'm the author of a book on establishing good habits for college students, called College Fast Track. (And, incidentally, I was homeschooled as a child--though not the entire time) This book would be a great resource for homeschooling kids as a resource in preparing for college and I was wondering if you would be interesting in reviewing the book on your blog. If that is okay, I can have my publisher send you a copy (either a physical book or a kindle edition, whichever you prefer). Just email me at derrick (dot) hibbard (at) gmail (dot) com.

Derrick Hibbard

Antonio Buehler said...

You watched two good documentaries. I would suggest checking out The Cartel by Bob Bowden as well - it focuses on the teachers unions in New Jersey.

Henry Cate said...

Jen - you are welcome!

Derrick - You can find my email address from my blogger profile. Just go to the top of the blog and click on my name under contributors. I'll send you an email.

Antonio - you are right. The Cartel is also quite good.