Do you have what it takes to be a teacher? Follow three aspiring teachers on a cross-country journey through the vast and varied world of education as they seek out the wisdom and personal stories of pioneering educators who are redefining what it means to teach.
As they talk with inspiring teachers, policy makers, social entrepreneurs and activists—including Compton Unified School District principal Jacqueline Sanderlin, National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and many more—the Roadtrippers understand the vast opportunities and vital need for passionate young people to teach the next generation.
Where to Watch: Roadtrip Nation
Every day we hear stories about America’s troubled education system. And we’re told that in order to fix what’s broken, we need to narrow our curricula, standardize our classrooms, and find new ways to measure students and teachers. But what if these “fixes” are making our schools worse.
In Beyond Measure, we set out to challenge the assumptions of our current education story.
Rather than ask why our students fail to measure up, this film asks us to reconsider the greater purpose of education. What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? Put inquiry over mimicry? Encouraged passion over rankings? What if we decided that the higher aim of school was not the transmission of facts or formulas, but the transformation of every student? And what if this paradigm-shift was driven from the ground up? By students, parents, and educators? By all of us?
In Beyond Measure, we find a revolution brewing in public schools across the country. From rural Kentucky to New York City, schools that are breaking away from an outmoded, test-driven education are shaping a new vision for our classrooms. These are schools that see critical thinking, communication, exploration, experimentation, collaboration, and creativity as the key to good education. And they are dramatically improving outcomes for children of all backgrounds. They are schools where practically every student graduates and goes on to finish college.
Beyond Measure offers a positive picture of what’s possible in American education when communities decide they are ready for change. Are you?
Where to Watch: Beyond the Race to Nowhere
For a nation that proudly declared it would leave no child behind, America continues to do so at alarming rates. Despite increased spending and politicians promises, our buckling public-education system, once the best in the world, routinely forsakes the education of millions of children. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education statistics have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of Waiting for "Superman".
As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying drop-out factories and academic sinkholes, methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems. However, embracing the belief that good teachers make good schools, and ultimately questioning the role of unions in maintaining the status quo, Guggenheim offers hope by exploring innovative approaches taken by education reformers and charter schools that have—in reshaping the culture—refused to leave their students behind.
Featured Charities for Education
Step Up For Students empowers families to pursue and engage in the most appropriate learning options for their children, with an emphasis on families who lack the information and financial resources to access these options. By pursuing this mission, we help public education fulfill the promise of equal opportunity.
Junior Achievement’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed. The inspiration piece comes from community volunteers who not only deliver our lessons, but share their experience. In the process, these volunteers serve as role models helping to positively impact young people’s perceptions about the importance of education, as well as critical life skills. Preparation involves our proven lessons that promote financial capability, work and career readiness, and business ownership.
Education has a far reaching impact beyond just preparing a a child for adulthood. Students are being prepped and educated as they grow and mature. These are a few things that are preventing students from reaching their full potential:
Ways to Take Action
• Reduce class distinctions
• Stop the expansion of charter and private schools as it creates segregation in wealth classes
• Deprioritize test based funding
• Support Teachers financially
• Invest more resources for support in low-income, underfunded schools
• Dismantle the school to prison pipeline for students
Education Is a Vital Human Right
We believe that the best way to eradicate poverty is to ensure that all people have access to a quality education. That’s why buildOn partners with rural communities in developing countries, empowering local residents to build schools, enroll out-of-school children, and educate adult learners.