"Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The War on Kids
Someone just passed it along to me. The documentary just opened in NYC. I will review this after my torrent downloads (maybe). Meantime, a press release and a repost of the NYT review follow. If you'd like to have the film, you can buy a copy from www.thewaronkids.com.
The award-winning feature documentary, THE WAR ON KIDS, launches a nationwide grassroots screening tour that will bring the debate about public education to dozens of campuses and communities nationwide.
In 95 minutes, THE WAR ON KIDS exposes the many ways the public school system has failed children and our future by robbing students of all freedoms due largely to irrational fears. Children are subjected to endure prison-like security, arbitrary punishments, and pharmacological abuse through the forced prescription of dangerous drugs. Even with these measures, schools not only fail to educate students, but the drive to teach has become secondary to the need to control children. Not only do school fall short of their mission to educate, but they erode the country’s democratic foundation and often resemble prisons.
School children are interviewed as are high school teachers and administrators, and prison security guards, plus renowned educators and authors including:
Henry Giroux: Author of Stealing Innocence Corporate Culture's War on Children
Mike A. Males: Sociologist, author of Scapegoat Generation
John Gatto: New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year
Judith Browne: Associate Director of the Advancement Project
Dan Losen: The Civil Liberties Project, Harvard University
The New York Times review:
The War on Kids
November 18, 2009
What Ails Public Schools? Better Ask, What Doesn’t?
By JEANNETTE CATSOULIS
Published: November 18, 2009
A shocking chronicle of institutional dysfunction, “The War on Kids” likens our public school system to prison and its disciplinary methods to fascism. At least now you know why little Johnny won’t get out of bed in the morning.
Arranged in sections that range from merely interesting to downright horrifying, this provocative documentary suggests a system regulated by fear and motivated by the desire to control. Tracing the evolution and application of zero-tolerance policies on drugs and violence, the director, Cevin Soling, amasses overwhelming evidence of institutional overreaction. When an 8-year-old can be suspended for pointing a chicken finger and saying “Pow,” we know that common sense has officially left the building.
Impassioned interviews with educators, authors and medical professionals — and some very perceptive students — warn of the consequences of surrounding children daily with armed security guards and surveillance cameras.
“They don’t really prevent anything; they just take pictures of it,” says Jessica Botcher, a student at Columbine High School. Those pictures, however, are electrifying: an armed SWAT team terrorizing high school students in South Carolina; a tiny, terrified girl being handcuffed by burly police officers. Offering neither balance nor solutions (a segment on the overuse of medications like Ritalin is especially powerful, but especially in need of counterargument), “The War on Kids” questions what kind of citizens we are producing. Parent or child-free, we all have a dog in that particular fight.