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Category: Education (page 1 of 2)

Sole of a Hustla


Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

What makes some men succeed where others fail? Is it smarts? Skills? Street sense? On the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, just one thing separates the “coulda, woulda, shoulda beens” from the Kings: Hustle.

Just ask Checliss “Big C” Rice.

Sole of a Hustla follows Big C from small time street hustler to big time businessman and CEO of Gametime Athletics — the would-be shoe empire of every starry-eyed entrepreneur’s dreams.

With the help of venture capitalist and filmmaker Bob Compton, an airtight business plan and mountain of cash to back him, Big C and his cobbled together crew set out to turn their aspirations into reality. But here in the corporate jungle, it’s a whole different kind of hustle.

Driven by a electrifying soundtrack produced by Jack Oblivian, Sole examines the essence of “hustle,”showing us just how far it can take you, and just how far it can’t. It’s also a story about friends doing whatever it takes to rise above the status quo, and realize the life of pride and dignity that all men, willing to hustle, deserve.

China Wins


Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

The world’s largest and most lucrative business-plan competition is held… not in the United States or in any western country, but in communist China.

Beyond the 1.3 billion Chinese, the competition goes largely unnoticed in the rest of the world. But in communist China the competition, aptly named Win in China, is broadcast on national TV.

Over 120,000 entrepreneurs compete for prize money in excess of $5 million with the winner receiving nearly $1.5 million dollars to invest in their new business plan.

Commentators in the film include Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group and Chairman of Yahoo China, James Fallows, correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and China expert Orville Schell.

Win in China is more than a lucrative business plan competition – it is an opportunity for the government to educate, motivate and inspire the latent entrepreneurial talent in the most populous nation on earth. Beneath the game show’s surface lies a nuanced, subtle view of Chinese business practices, ambitions, ethical norms and competitive behavior.

A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine Education Reform


Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

Most Americans have long known that our public schools aren’t getting the job done, but as our country increasingly falls behind our economic competitors and a wide academic gap within our country persists between low-income, minority students and their more affluent peers, these twin achievement gaps have reached crisis proportions. Simply put, the failure of our public schools is the most pressing domestic issue our nation faces.

There’s good news, however: we now know what must be done to fix our schools and a wave of reform is beginning to sweep the country. But it won’t be easy – the system, while failing children, has been working very well for the adults, who fight ferociously to maintain the unacceptable status quo. The outcome of this battle will determine the long-term future of our country.

Whitney Tilson has been engaged in this fight for more than 20 years, when he was one of the first people to join Wendy Kopp in starting Teach for America. Wendy later introduced him to David Levin, the co-founder of the KIPP network of charter schools, and he’s served on KIPP’s board for nearly a decade. He’s also one of the founders of Democrats for Education Reform, the Rewarding Achievement (REACH) program, and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, and serves on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Council of Urban Professionals, and the Pershing Square Foundation.

After spending more than two decades on the front lines, witnessing first-hand public education’s dramatic failures and remarkable successes, Mr. Tilson was inspired to assemble a powerful and at times unsettling presentation about the twin achievement gaps and what must be done to address them. He utilizes the latest data and research to paint the most detailed portrait of American public education ever committed to film. More importantly, he presents us with a way forward so our nation can deliver on its promise to all of its children and ensure its long-term future.

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Two Million Minutes: The 21st Century Solution


Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

For 25 years, report after report has shown that American students are falling further and further behind the rest of the world intellectually. As the American public school system fails to adapt to this century, schools in China and India produce four times the number of high school graduates as the U.S. and educate these students to a much higher level.

Having revealed this frightening decline in his first documentary Two Million Minutes, executive producer Robert A. Compton next searched the world for the best high schools in the hopes of discovering a solution to America’s education crisis.

Then, in one of the poorest areas of America, Compton discovered a school that teaches ordinary U.S. children at an extraordinarily high academic level. This school demonstrates that American students are capable of competing academically with the best in the world given the right curriculum, the right teachers, the right inspiration, and expectation for success.

Despite the decline of public education, the decades ahead can be ones of prosperity and economic growth for the United States, provided the American people have the will and the leadership to embrace The 21st Century Solution.

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Two Million Minutes in China: A deeper look at Chinese Education

Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

In 2007 the provocative documentary film Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination premiered. Comparing and contrasting the two million minutes of high school in India, China and the U.S., the film raised awareness and rattled cages from Harvard to the halls of power.

Now one year later, the students have completed their freshman year of college. In Two Million Minutes Chapter 3, we bring together the two American students and the two Chinese students for a candid, compelling roundtable discussion.

How well did high school prepare them? Do they wish they had done things differently? How do they see their peers in other countries now? What has their first year of college been like? How different is the college experience between these two countries?

With a mission to “cultivate within each of its students a balance of Chinese wisdom and a global perspective”, Xiwai International School is pioneering a new path in Chinese education – a public-private joint venture in education between Xiwai Investment Co. and Shanghai International Studies University . The former is a company specializing in education investment; it consists of shareholders and senior managers, including individuals from the international banking sector, such as Goldman Sachs, and from Chinese and overseas educational institutions. Shanghai International Studies University is one of China ‘s key universities, directly under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

How is traditional Chinese K-12 education changing? What are the strengths of the historical approach? What are you trying to achieve with new approaches? How much freedom do high school principals and teachers have? How do you balance teaching Communist philosophy with capitalist economics? China seems to have a very active “Gifted and Talented” program – can you elaborate? What can Chinese educators learn from America? What can American educators learn from China?

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Two Million Minutes in India: A Deeper Look at Indian Education


Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

In 2007 the provocative documentary film Two Million Minutes: A Global Examination premiered. Comparing and contrasting the two million minutes of high school in India, China and the U.S., the film raised awareness and rattled cages from Harvard to the halls of power.

Now one year later, the students have completed their freshman year of college. In Two Million Minutes Chapter 2, we bring together the two American students and the two Indian students for a candid, compelling roundtable discussion.

How well did high school prepare them? Do they wish they had done things differently? How do they see their peers in other countries now? What has their first year of college been like? How different is the college experience between these two countries?

What is it like being a principal of a K-12 school in India? How does the curriculum differ? How do teacher credentials differ? What challenges do Indian schools face compared to U.S. schools? What can Indian educators learn from America? What can American educators learn from India?

In a wide-ranging interview, Bob Compton explores in detail the differences and similarities between Indian and American education with Principal Sundari Rao.

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2 Million Minutes: A Global Examination

Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

Regardless of nationality, as soon as a student completes the 8th grade, the clock starts ticking. From that very moment the child has approximately –

… Two Million Minutes until high school graduation

… Two Million Minutes to build their intellectual foundation

… Two Million Minutes to prepare for college and ultimately career

… Two Million Minutes to go from a teenager to an adult.

How a student spends their Two Million Minutes – in class, at home studying, playing sports, working, sleeping, socializing or just goofing off — will affect their economic prospects for the rest of their lives.

How do most American high school students spend this time? What about students in the rest of the world? How do family, friends and society influence a student’s choices for time allocation? What implications do their choices have on their future and on a country’s economic future?

This film takes a deeper look at how the three superpowers of the 21st Century – China, India and the United States – are preparing their students for the future.

As we follow two students – a boy and a girl – from each of these countries, we compose a global snapshot of education, from the viewpoint of kids preparing for their future.

Our goal is to tell the broader story of the universal importance of education today, and address what many are calling a crisis for U.S. schools regarding chronically low scores in math and science indicators.

Robert (Bob) Compton

The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System

Presented with the kind permission of Dave Compton, Broken Pencil Productions & Two Million Minutes

Finland’s education system has consistently ranked among the best in the world for more than a decade. The puzzle is, why Finland?

Documentary filmmaker, Bob Compton, along with Harvard researcher, Dr. Tony Wagner, decided to find out.

The result of their research is captured in a new film, “The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System”.

In the 60-minute film, Dr. Wagner guides the viewer through an inside look at the world’s finest secondary education system.

A life-long educator and author of the best-selling book “The Global Achievement Gap,” Dr. Wagner is uniquely qualified to explore and explain Finland’s success.

From within classrooms and through interviews with students, teachers, parents, administrators and government officials, Dr. Wagner reveals the surprising factors accounting for Finland’s rank as the #1 education system in the world.

Tony Wagner

iLearn: The miniseries


Presented with the kind permission of Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
Special thanks to Steven Maggi.

The iLearn Project was created in 2010 when the Evergreen Freedom Foundation recognized that online learning is changing the way the world does school — for the better.

Washington enjoys the presence of a variety of high quality curriculum providers, many courageous school districts, and even more positively fearless innovators. Still, online learning faces opposition from a number of corners. If not addressed, that opposition could cut online learning off at the knees.

First, in spite of the entrepreneurial spirit passed down from Washington’s first pioneers, our education establishment has maintained a relentless loyalty to the status quo. Many powerful organizations resist reforms that affect the way schools operate. And online learning does just that. If you’re a student, parent, or online learning teacher, though, you know it does it for the better. Only when enough Washingtonians grasp that online learning is a positive disruption will it be safe.

Meanwhile some groups will be threatened by online learning and will do all they can to rob it of the freedom and flexibility that allows it to meet unique student needs.

Lastly, many legislators have yet to grasp what public online learning is. Many mistake it for an extra program that can be cut when the budget gets tight.

The Freedom Foundation has supported learning-effective, cost-effective public education options since its founding. We recognized that online learning opened countless doors for students. Anticipating it would face opposition sooner or later, the Freedom Foundation had spent months doing research on its history in our state. We were sure the time would come when online learning options would be threatened and families would have to come together and defend it. No one knew that time was just around the corner.

That’s why the Freedom Foundation created the iLearn Project. We exist to protect and advocate public online learning options, to offer networking opportunities for participants across regions and providers, to provide a platform for telling the stories of online learning, and to highlight research and policy recommendations for the expansion of public online learning options in Washington state.

Skooled by Dr Ben


Presented with the kind permission of Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
Special thanks to Steven Maggi.

12 Episodes of Skooled
From July 08 2009 to October 21 2009

These shorts are a series of candid discussions on some controversial issues in education by a controversial player in that field.

Dr. Ben Chavis is the founder of the American Indian Public Charter Schools in Oakland, CA.

Dr. Ben’s unorthodox techniques and no-holds-barred attitude have helped under privileged students achieve some of the highest scores in California.

  • Fight Club – episode 1
    In this debut episode of “Skooled,” Dr. Ben Chavis shares a story to discuss winning over problem students and transforming them into successful team-players in the education world
  • Diversify – episode 2
    Dr. Ben talks about diversity and school clubs—factors he believes are just another form of segregation. He urges us to focus on similarities rather than differences, and to make schools more like…Hardee’s: willing to open its doors to any person, no matter what colour, shape, size, or background, as long as they keep coming through.
  • Thief to Lad – episode 3
    Dr. Ben reads the disciplinarian rote with a story about a student who was caught stealing and—as warned—was punished by having his head shaved. After a few chuckles over the media’s appalled response to this story, Dr. Ben informs us it was the last time the student ever stole and that he is now on the honour roll.
  • Fleecing Taxpayers – episode 4
    In this episode, Dr. Ben talks dollars and sense, by arguing that (radical moment spoiler) cuts in the education budget are a good thing?! But he doesn’t end on that note, explaining that good schools don’t just ADD more money to the equation, they learn to MANAGE the money they already have! In one of the most controversial topics of education reform, Dr. Ben makes a stunning case for the responsibility and accountability in school spending.
  • Embarrassing Achievement out of Students – episode 5
    Dr. Ben discusses the controversies surrounding his technique of embarrassing students as a way to spur them to greater achievement.  He also discusses his success at creating a culture of belonging where success is rewarded socially and encouraged by fellow students.
  • Speechless – episode 6
    Dr. Ben tackles the statement “Art in schools increases student achievement” with a fair heaping of scepticism. what makes good musicians, he explains, is discipline and Practice—the same things that make a good student! So what should we really be promoting in schools to increase student performance? Interest in School, dedication to studies, a desire to put as much effort into math and history as one might put into drawing, singing, or acting
  • All In the Family – episode 7
    Dr. Ben talks about parental involvement and explains that, in his school, parent’s aren’t always the best choice. Instead, he advocates for family Involvement, which has more to do with the tribal society roots of his students than the trumped up notions of culture that bureaucrats had at the school’s beginnings. Family involvement, he explains, could include parents but is not restricted to just parents, taking pressure off working parents who don’t have the time or energy to volunteer and providing each student with a whole network of supporters to help them succeed in school.
  • Paying Students – episode 8
    Can’t get kids to attend their classes?  Having problems encouraging students to achieve?  Dr. Ben suggests that we just pay students to attend class and reward their success with money.  He explores the motivating factor money plays in all of our lives.
  • Fool of a Parent – episode 9
    We’re back and this time we talk to Dr. Ben about parents.  Dr. Ben tells the story of catching a parent not taking responsibility for her daughter’s actions.  But no worries, Dr. Ben doesn’t give her a pass.  He tracks down the parent and publicly confronts her.
  • School Lunch – episode 10
    Should students have a lunch provided to them by the school?  Dr. Ben says “NO!”  Despite not providing lunches for his inner city students he still has one of the most accomplished schools in the district.
  • Addressing Critics – episode 11
    This week Dr. Ben addresses his critics who say he stifles creativity.  He also talks about why he calls his kids “My Kids”.  Oh yeah, and he is egotistically and proud of it!
  • An Educated Student – episode 12
    Dr. Ben explains what it means to be an educated person and then tells legislators what they can do to help students get there.

Dr. Ben Chavis. Controversial educator & founder of the American Indian Public Charter Schools in Oakland, CA

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