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Of Special Interest

Here is a collection of FRONTLINE reports on education.

A Class Divided
One of the most requested programs in FRONTLINE's 20-year history, this 1985 documentary recounts one small town teacher's attempt to teach her students about racism and discrimination. In 1968, on the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, elementary school teacher Jane Elliott decided to try a bold classroom exercise: She began awarding special privileges to her blue-eyed students while discriminating against those whose eyes were brown. What's more, she actively encouraged the blue-eyed children to discriminate against their brown-eyed classmates. In "A Class Divided," FRONTLINE tracks down Mrs. Elliott's former third-graders to learn what effect those early lessons on racism and diversity had on their attitudes and behavior later in life. (Original airdate: March 26, 1985)

Secrets of the SAT
The debate over the fairness of college admissions has polarized America. Race-sensitive admissions and the argument over merit versus diversity have given rise to a political maelstrom. At the center of this debate are standardized tests like the SAT. The program explores how the SAT has altered the cultural landscape and how its adoption as an admissions standard has impacted the debate over affirmative action and the role diversity plays in the process. As the 30-year history of affirmative action comes under its strongest attack, FRONTLINE follows a diverse set of students and their families through the stressful college admissions cycle, sharing their dreams of attending prestigious universities like Berkeley and Harvard. (Original airdate: Oct. 5, 1999)

The Battle Over School Choice
With more students than ever enrolled in kindergarten through high school, education is now a top voter concern. What's needed to improve our public schools -- better teachers, smaller classes, greater parent involvement, higher standards, more tests? Or, is privatization the answer? Democrats and Republicans differ sharply on the hot button issue of school vouchers and whether public funds should be used to pay for private or parochial schools. FRONTLINE explores the heated political debate over the reform of public education and investigates the spectrum of "school choice" options -- from vouchers to charter schools to for-profit academies -- and their growing popularity in troubled inner cities. (Original airdate: May 23, 2000)

Testing Our Schools
President Bush's proposal for mandatory public school testing in grades three through eight signals the beginning of a new era in public education, one marked by increased federal involvement in schools and an unprecedented expansion in the role of tests. A business school graduate and self-styled "CEO president," Bush envisions a business model where educators set objectives, measure performance, and hold students and teachers accountable for results. But will the business model work in education? FRONTLINE correspondent John Merrow examines how the quest for higher scores is changing teaching and learning in America. (Original airdate: March 28, 2002)

Public Schools, Inc.
Ten years after "edupreneur" Chris Whittle first announced his bold plan to revolutionize the way we educate our children, Whittle's Edison Schools continue to be a lightning rod for the issue of for-profit, public education. In "Public Schools Inc.," FRONTLINE and the PBS education series The Merrow Report join forces with The New York Times to investigate the intertwined fortunes of Edison Schools and its charismatic yet controversial leader, and examine whether it's possible to create world-class schools that turn a profit. (Original airdate: June 19, 2003)