SCHOOL is a dramatic four-hour documentary series that chronicles the development of our nation’s public education system from Colonial times to the 21st century. Presented on PBS by KCET/Hollywood and narrated by Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, SCHOOL recaptures the idealism of the early advocates of public education and continues with an unflinching look at the experiments and challenges in classrooms today.
An award-winning SCHOOL companion volume is published by Beacon Press.
Directed by Sarah Mondale
Produced by Sarah B. Patton and Sarah Mondale
Edited by Marian Hunter
Narrated by: Meryl Streep
EPISODE 1: THE COMMON SCHOOL (1770 - 1789)
After the Revolution, a newly independent America faced a daunting challenge: how to build a united nation out of 13 colonies with little in common. Many citizens believed that education held the key.
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EPISODE 2: AS AMERICAN AS PUBLIC SCHOOL (1900-1950)
This film tells the dramatic story of how massive immigration, child labor laws, and the explosive growth of cities fueled school attendance and transformed public education.
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EPISODE 3: EQUALITY (1950-1980)
This film chronicles the tumultuous era when public schools became a major battleground in the fight for equality for minorities and women.
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EPISODE 4: THE BOTTOM LINE (1980 - 2000S)
In 1983, A Nation at Risk, a report launched by the Reagan Administration, shattered public confidence in America’s schools, sparking a new wave of free market education reform.
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Praise for School
SCHOOL is “PBS doing exactly what public television should be doing above all else: bringing context, clarity and perspective to an emotionally charged and often misunderstood part of our shared national experience.”
- The Baltimore Sun
A compelling narrative….Remarkable thoroughness and intellectual energy…This program should be required viewing for policymakers who make pronouncements on what schools should or shouldn’t be.
- The New York Times
SCHOOL causes a familiar topic to seem strange and rich again.
- The Washington Post, TV Week
Deploying stunning antique footage and sound bites from historians and others, School spans I.Q. and back-to-basics disputes as well as those bitter political spats regarding the ‘V’ word (vouchers).
- Los Angeles Times
A fascinating primer on the roots of American schools and an even-handed look at privatization, standardized testing and other contemporary issues.
- The Associated Press
SCREENINGS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
SCHOOL is considered a “must see” in universities and schools of education. Through an extensive nationwide outreach campaign, the series has also been screened by hundreds of community groups, PTAs, professional education organizations, museums, libraries and others, sparking discussions with local stakeholders. Filmmaker appearances available upon request.
On Screen Personalities
MAJOR FUNDING FOR “SCHOOL” PROVIDED BY:
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The National Endowment for the Humanities
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The Ford Foundation
The Carnegie Corporation of New York
The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
The Lovelace Family Trust
The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation
Community Funds, Inc.
The Spencer Foundation
The George Gund Foundation
The William H. Donner Foundation
The Hillsdale Fund
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The MetLife Foundation
The W.H. Kellogg Foundation
The James Ford Bell Foundation
The New York Council for the Humanities
The Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media/Funding Exchange