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September 2nd, 2008
Introduction
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“The first natural resource in any society are the minds of its people.”
- Wendy Puriefoy, Public Education Network

In 1995, America’s college graduation rate was first in the world. Ten years later, it ranked 15th. As so many nations around the world continue to improve their systems of education, America can no longer afford to maintain the status quo. In an ever-changing, increasingly competitive global economy, is the U.S. doing all it can to prepare its students to win jobs and maintain a robust economy?

WHERE WE STAND: America’s Schools in the 21st Century presents a frank evaluation of our educational system’s strengths and weaknesses. Hosted by Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, the documentary visits schools throughout Ohio, an important swing state that represents a range of socioeconomic and geographic school districts. The program features schools in urban Cincinnati, suburban Columbus, and rural Belpre.

WHERE WE STAND introduces students, parents, teachers and administrators whose stories illustrate the overwhelming odds and shining successes of education in America. They include Bin Che, an educator from mainland China who teaches Mandarin in rural Ohio; Cherese Clark, principal of a high-poverty school struggling under the pressure of low test scores; Guadalupe Medina, a student at a STEM school (which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), who, at age 16, has completed all of her high school requirements; and Anne Kuittinen, a Finnish exchange student who earned straight A’s but is now redoing her junior year at home in Finland because the Finnish school system doesn’t accept credits from America.

  • Julie Sanders

    I just finished viewing a one-hour segment of this show on PBS – Channel 8 in Houston. It was fabulous – as a teacher leader and trainer within my district and my teacher organization I see great possibilities for round table discussions. I appreciate that the segments are all available on your website, but is there a DVD available for use in areas without reliable Internet access?

  • steve irvine

    I enjoyed the program but was bothered by one aspect. I’d like to comment hoping to right the world a bit. The program included comment on percentages of Americans that can’t locate particular countries on a map. A similar concept was raised in the Miss America pageant in a question to Miss South Carolina: “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?” Your statistics and the pageant question are both inherently flawed and in indictment against those conducting the studies rather than students. America is a nickname. United States is a nickname. Our country’s name is the United States of America. Trivial difference? No. It represents a centric viewpoint and can be offensive to ‘Mexicans’ and anyone else in the western hemisphere. Canadians, Argentine, and Hondurans are all Americans. They are Central Americans, South Americans, and North Americans. It is wrong to view ourselves as Americans to the exclusion of every other inhabitant of the western hemisphere. As for the United States, that’s an inherently flawed nickname. The nickname Mexico makes reference to Estados Unidos Mexicanos – States United Mexican. This is commonly translated as United Mexican States and occasionally translated as the United States of Mexico. In either case ‘Mexicans’ also live in the ‘United States’- the United Mexican States. I cringe when I hear studies about Americans’ and or their inability to locate America or the United States on a map. No wonder students have a poor mastery of geography. Those who evaluate their knowledge are way off too.

  • Richard Long

    As a Prof. of Education, I found the program “Where We Stand” fascinating. I’d really like to share it with my students who are all future teachers. Could you tell me if the program is available for purchase? A few years ago, I bought “A Touch of Greatness” from Boston’s PBS station. Terrific! Thanks so much for such a fine presentation. Kudos to Judy Woodruf!

  • Marion Ross

    The program “Where We Stand” was very interesting and profound. I would like to know where I can obtain the script and/or dvd of this program to share with other educators.

  • Sherry Kuehl

    Is the “Where we Stand” program available for purchase?

  • Diane Nielsen

    I would also like to know if “Where we Stand” is available for purchase?

  • Sharon Aune

    Wonderful program with one exception. I grew up near Belpre. Judy Woodruff, did you know that Belpre is pronounced Bell pre? The accent is on the first syllable and the second syllable is pronounced with a long e sound. Did you bother to actually interview anyone in person in this wonderful small Ohio town? I cringed everytime you mispronounced it. Considering the topic of education in the United States it was a bit of an irony and no doubt a smack in the face to the towns people of Belpre.

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