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TOPIC: Education

Teachers Beat the “Macho Culture” in Prisons through Art Programs

In the early 2000s, Hollywood invested in the urban fairy tale where a teacher is called into the principal’s office of a school in a low-income, broken part of town and is requested to help “build character and morale.” (Think Samuel L. Jackson in Coach Carter, Antonio Banderas in Take the Lead and Hilary Swank … READ MORE

Healing Places: Rebuilding After a Community Tragedy

“The only thing tragedy gives us is the opportunity to rebuild our life.” -writer Paulo Coelho The film Newtown asks, “What remains after all is lost?” Some have said that it is much harder to rebuild oneself after experiencing an unconscionable tragedy than it is to physically rebuild a space on the site the tragedy happened. … READ MORE

Principal Vonda Viland and 10 of the Most Unforgettable “Bad Kids”

The following is by Vonda Viland, principal of Black Rock Continuation High School in Yucca Valley in California’s Mojave Desert, and subject of the new film The Bad Kids, which premieres on Independent Lens March 20 at 10pm [check local listings]. Viland’s tireless work to help at-risk teenagers find their way to graduation is reflected both … READ MORE

A Letter from Jose Ansaldo and an Update from Oscar Ramos

UPDATE (2/7/17): News courtesy of East of Salinas filmmaker Laura Pacheco, teacher Oscar Ramos was just awarded the Cesar Chavez Human Rights Award! Our hearty congrats to Mr. Ramos on the well-deserved honor. #Cesar Chavez Human Rights Award Winner! Props to Oscar Ramos for his inspiration and commitment. pic.twitter.com/nvPsYopxjX — EAST OF SALINAS (@EastofSalinas) February 8, 2017 … READ MORE

Laura Pacheco and Jackie Mow Tell the Story of a Farmworker’s Studious Son

Not just a filmmaker but a trained anthropologist, Laura Pacheco has traveled the world to tell the stories of people overcoming the odds of their rough circumstances, including for the Emmy Award-winning series Rx for Survival (PBS), where she followed a young woman dying of drug resistant TB in the slums of Lima, Peru, and in Renewal, … READ MORE

Filmmaker Scott Thurman on the Texas Textbook Wars

We sat down with filmmaker Scott Thurman to discuss what went on behind the scenes of his documentary, The Revisionaries, which chronicles the oft-rancorous battle over Texas textbooks. The Revisionaries premieres on Independent Lens January 28 at 10 PM (check local listings). What impact do you hope the film will have? I hope people pay more attention … READ MORE

Revising The Revisionaries: The Texas Board of Ed Loses Power over Textbooks

As recently as last year, the Texas State Board of Education had the power to rewrite history. The Revisionaries (airing Jan. 28 on Independent Lens) captures the scope of the board’s reign. In the documentary’s intro, ABC News reporter Dan Harris interviews former board chair Don McLeroy in 2010. “You have been quoted as saying … READ MORE

Updates from the Tucson Unified School District

Since the cameras stopped rolling on the documentary Precious Knowledge (premiering May 17 on Independent Lens), the Tucson Unified School District has been all over the news. Precious Knowledge follows the student backlash from a school board decision to dismantle the Mexican American Studies program. Catch up on the whole story with our handy guide to the … READ MORE