I don't know how you feel about Oprah, but she's gaining some ground for me. Her recent shows with Lisa Ling have been much more informative, engaging and pushing the content to a place I would like to see TV with influence take it.
Yesterday was part 2 of Oprah's shows on "American Schools in Crisis", which focused a bit on problems but also focused on solutions (another refreshing element). Oprah actually said it - yes, there's a link between schools and prisons! She featured different "failing" schools and some alternative schools (like Bill & Melinda Gates' High Tech High, which I would have loved, and a school where teachers give students their cell phones & are on-call for 24hrs/day) and a high school that Sunny Schwartz, an attorney who has worked in the San Francisco County Jail system for more than 20 years, is spearheading the first high school for adults behind bars. Sunny spoke of "feeder" schools, schools that feed populations right into the prisons. They showed footage of the students using alegra to calculate how much time they have lost to crime and prison. One young Black man (29) figured he'd spent 44% of his life behind bars. Read "Educate now or Incarcerate Later".
The show pushed a new organization Stand Up. You can find the stats on education in your state here.
Tara Yosso recently published a book focused on Chicana/o Education. Get it here:
Tara and I are working on a project of Hollywood's portrayal of "bad" students (read poor, Black, Brown, wild). Here's some of the images we've found:
Different movies (Dangerous Minds, 187, The Substitute+...) all show the same images: dilapidated classrooms, groups of wild and uncontrollable Black/Brown students that are violent, not interested in learning, and nearly unteachable, teen moms, and exhausted teachers. True that much of this is exists in reality, how can we envision something better if all we ever see are problems and the only solutions are military trained teachers (sometimes with guns) like Dangerous Minds and The Substitute?
What have you seen?
Another show I saw recently was Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days. I saw the episode where a border minuteman (and once illegal Cuban immigrant who got legal papers) lives with an undocumented family in LA. I want to see other episodes (on low wage living, living behind bars, as an outsourced programmer, and a pro-choice feminist in a pro-life maternity home). It's out on DVD, and I'll probably post more after I watch all the episodes.
I'm just excited to see "real" content and a return to less "reality" and more documentary influenced TV programming. Finally!
Locally, I'm excited to hear this:
2006 Youth News Initiative - Girls of Color Voicing Their Choice!
KFAI's summer news journalism training program marked its mid-way point this past Friday. Eight young ladies have finalized their story ideas and will begin interviewing subjects next week. Selected news topics include inter-racial dating - a love story, foster care, growing up with a disabled parent, Indigenous students enrolled in charter and public schools, how hip-hop affects girls self-esteem, Juneteenth - is violence killing this community celebration, untold stories from northside Minneapolis, and growing up bi-culturally.
YNI participants invite you to visit them at KFAI on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 10:00 - 1:00. Mark your "listening" calendars for late August/early September when all eight stories will be aired on KFAI's Evening News!