Bob Gliner, Documentary filmmaker


"Lessons from the Real World is an hour-long film
your local board of education, PTA, and teachers
should watch. It shows what school can be.
Should be. Every member of Congress
should be required to watch this film."

Susan Ohanian, Winner of the George Orwell Award
for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity
in Public Language

"Lessons from the Real World makes it clear that there are alternatives to a curriculum built largely on abstractions and driven by a concern about raising test scores. See this film and take hope in the fact that this kind of education is still happening. Then make it happen yourself.
Gregory Smith, Professor of Education
Lewis & Clark College

Reclaiming the need for involving children and youth of all ages in their communities and hence in living democracy, Lessons From The Real World provides innumerable examples of the regenerative aspects of schooling. Inspirational, thought provoking and plain common-sense.
Dilafruz Williams, Chair, Executive Committee

Council of Great City Schools


Lessons From the Real World
To order: Click here.

Program Description

Many people feel our public schools are failing, or at best, muddling through. What to do about this critical issue has almost exclusively focused on the efforts of No Child Left Behind  and now Race to the Top legislation to improve test scores in core subjects like math and reading.   

The future of our nation and our ability to compete in the economic marketplace with other countries is considered to hinge on these high stakes tests, with teachers, schools and entire school districts held accountable for failure.  The results, afforded much media coverage, have been mixed though the process has produced many students turned off to formal education.   An equally important consequence is that the increased narrowing of the curriculum to try to achieve these limited objectives, has undermined the ability of students to become active, informed and engaged citizens in a democratic society – capable of doing something about the issues which dramatically impact their lives.
Lessons From the Real World, contends, like many educators, that focusing on test scores to improve student achievement is looking in the wrong place.

Learning to read, do math and other subjects will come if students care about what they are learning, rather than drilling them with subject matter largely divorced from their real lives, and the community and societal problems which often impact those lives.  

In Portland, Oregon, teachers at a wide range of schools are putting this idea into practice.  While this is their story, it can help point the way to rethinking how schools  everywhere can be successfully transformed.
Lessons From the Real World, a highly informative and entertaining documentary, filled with engaging teachers, students and lessons will surely bring much needed attention to a long neglected and critical aspect of the debate around public education.

Since its release in April 2011, Lesson From The Real World has aired on many PBS stations across the country. It was also screened at the SOS (Save Our Schools) Conference in Washington D.C. in July 2011 and at the AERO Conference in Portland, Oregon in August.


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