The Lottery is a education documentary that looks at the conditions of education in Harlem. It more less chronicles the Harlem Success Academy, and the struggles it faced in attempting to open a new charter in Harlem.
I thought the movie was a good one, but didn't present any shockingly new information on the state of inner city schools.
It had a similar style and feel to Waiting For Superman and The Cartel.
However, I did find the protest scene interesting. Each documentary states that there is opposition to the charter schools but I believe that The Lottery depicted the feelings and emotions of the protesters better than the others.
Why would people oppose a charter school coming in to their city to give their children a better education for free?
They felt betrayed and insulted. The people have grown up with these schools and they are closely linked to the community. It helps to form their identity.
When schools are selected to be a charter school, the selected school is always a terrible school. However, it is insulting to tell people that they grew up in terrible school and thus have a terrible education.
The lessons learned:
- Schools are closely linked to communities. People in the communities that have failing schools are torn between two desires. One they want the schools to improve because they want their children to have quality educations. Two the schools they grew up in them have served them in some capcity (well or not is another issue). And because of this service they are connected to the school. Communities (especially small ones) are identified by the school and teh schools are often the most uniting force.
- Everyone regardless of income wants a quality education/school. Claims are often made about parents who live in poverty not caring about education. However, the abundance of charter schools in the north and the amount of applicants from impoverished communities shows that they do want a better education. In the absence of charters they often lack the resources to make any changes to the education system. It doesn't mean they do not care.
- Poverty is not an impediment to education. Once the students were accepted to the charter schools, they began to perform better. It is not a magical power that good schools have and poor schools don't. What makes a good school is knowing what the important things are.