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NCLB Outrages

Democracy Left Behind Airs on PBS

Ohanian Comment: This thought-provoking, powerful documentary which aired on prime time in Los Angeles last week, available for purchase--and a bargain at that:

(57 minutes)

Although I think the filmmaker gives too much credit to the "good intentions" of people like Education Trust's Kati Haycock in the beginning of the film and the NEA's Joel Packer toward the middle, I'm willing to put these quibbles aside and applaud the solid view of the deep-seated damage done by NCLB. And I'll be forever grateful to him for leading me to a teacher right here in Vermont. Jean Berthiaume is one of the excellent teachers featured in the film, and he is doing very exciting things at Harwood High School.

This film Is a must-see for:

# boards of education

# PTAs

# teachers confronting union leaders to change their agenda, to talk about things other than merit pay.

# political house parties.

# service organizations.

How effectively do our public schools prepare students for active participation in democratic society? Is there a relationship between an often ill-informed public and the manner in which social and political issues are addressed in our nation's classrooms?

Democracy Left Behind examines the impact of "No Child Left Behind" on the ability of schools to serve a civic mission ΓΆ€“ demonstrating how difficult it is now for many students to understand what their education means in the larger context of the society and world they inhabit.

Filmed in a broad cross-section of economically and culturally diverse schools, including provocative interviews with teachers, administrators, and nationally known experts, Democracy Left Behind shows why learning to become an active and knowledgeable citizen should be an integral part of learning basic educational skills such as reading and math, rather than something only too easily forgotten in the pursuit of higher test scores.

— Susan Ohanian


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