The Lottery

Chief Goku C, aka my son, shares his viewpoint of this outstanding 80-minute documentary about public education and the controversy surrounding traditional public schools and public charter schools in our nation.
“Giving Every Child A Chance To Succeed”

The Lottery Post:

The Lottery is a documentary that follows the lives of four families in the weeks before and including the “Lottery” of which the film is named after. This lottery is not a conventional one in which the winner would win an incredibly large amount of money. No, instead this lottery is for something much more valuable, it’s for education. It was moving as I watched these four families and their struggles to find a first rate education for their children in which there were at least 3000 more kids hoping for the same chance. Unfortunately, there are only 475 openings available at this public charter school which means that each child has a 1/6th chance of being accepted.

*Spoiler Alert*

At the end of the documentary on “lottery day” only one of the four children is accepted into this school, Harlem Success Academy. What a very sobering reality, especially because of how exceptionally bright these four children are.

There were many statistics in this documentary and the one that stood out as particularly disturbing is that there are 23 school zones in Harlem, and 19 of those schools have less than 50% of their students reading at grade level. In this public charter school there is a 100% passing rate on their practice exam, yet there is no zone school in Harlem that has more than 58% of students passing the same test.

This film really got me thinking about the main problem with public education. If this school, which is funded and supported less is so incredibly better than every other public school in the area, what could the difference be? Funding, teacher involvement, parent involvement, or could it be the students themselves? Stated perfectly by the founder of the Harlem Success Academies, Eva Moskowitz, “The problem with education isn’t the children, it’s the grownups”. As I have come to understand, the grim reality is that everything revolves around money, and if money doesn’t go somewhere, people complain and protest until they get their way, even if their way is completely outdated. The reason that these incredible schools aren’t everywhere is because people resist change because of the fear of what the new will beckon.

I don’t want to go on too much of a monologue here, but I’d just like to end with saying that this movie has completely opened my eyes to the truth of public education and the fundamental problems surrounding it. If any of you have watched this movie, or have an opinion on this, please comment below.

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  1. Lori, I havent seen this post before! Being keen to learn as much as possible about my new home country and the schooling system I found confusing. I surely will watch this movie. Thanks for bringing to my attention

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