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