Est. Reading Time: 2 Minutes
Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services have made access to movies and TV incredibly easy, and watching a documentary is a convenient and informative way to learn about a topic. With so many choices, however, it can be challenging to find quality, non-biased documentaries. No one wants to spend two hours watching something that wasn’t worthwhile, right? Not to worry – we did the work for you!
Whether you are interested in the history of education, inequality and segregation within education, gaining insight on pursuing post-secondary education for yourself, or learning the education dos and don’ts for your children, documentaries can provide a vast amount of information on matters within teaching, learning, and education as a whole.
Sit back and enjoy the following education documentaries featuring current, informative, and important matters in education today:
1. Teach Us All
Length: 1 hour 20 minutes
“On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the 1957 Little Rock school desegregation crisis, educational inequality remains among the most urgent civil rights issues of our time. With its school district hanging in the balance following a state takeover in January 2015, Little Rock today presents a microcosm of the inequities and challenges manifesting in classrooms all across America. Through case studies in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles, Teach Us All seeks to bring the critical lessons of history to bear on the current state of U.S. education and investigate: 60 years later, how far have we come-or not come-and how do we catalyze action from here?”
2. College, Inc.
Length: 56 minutes
“An investigation into for-profit colleges and universities that raises concerns about aggressive job placement promises, questionable enrollment and recruiting practices, and disproportionate debt loads. Soon after the documentary aired in 2010, Congress held hearings to investigate. One of the institutions featured in the documentary, Corinthian Colleges, closed in 2015 after the Department of Education fined it nearly $30 million for “misrepresentation of job placement rates to current and prospective students.”
3. The Bad Kids
Length: 1 hour 41 minutes
“The Bad Kids is an observational documentary that chronicles one extraordinary principal’s mission to realize the potential of these students whom the system has deemed lost causes. Employing a verité approach during a year at the school, our film follows Principal Vonda Viland as she coaches three at-risk teens––a new father who can’t support his family, a young woman grappling with sexual abuse, and an angry young man from an unstable home––through the traumas and obstacles that rob them of their spirit and threaten their goal of a high school diploma.”
Length: 1 hour 51 minutes
“Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education “statistics” have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.”
Length: 2 hours 15 minutes
“American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.”
Grab the popcorn
Sit back and enjoy! There’s nothing like a great Netflix binge on a topic you’re passionate about.
After you’ve watched the documentaries recommended in this article, stay sharp and continue learning by exploring the links in the last actionable step. There are tons of other great education documentaries available – no digging necessary!
These documentaries are packed with fascinating information. Grab a pen and paper or your laptop to take notes as you watch.
Reflect and ask questions
Review your notes and do some reflection. Think about areas that you have questions about, and conduct some research of your own to answer them.
Read the longer version
You can learn more about must-watch education documentaries by reading the following articles, reviewed to be the best by our professionals: “The Best Documentaries About Education”- Ranker. “9 Education Documentaries on Netflix to Stream in 2019”- Rasmussen College. “90+ Education Documentaries to Challenge and Inspire”- Etale.org.
About the Author
Dr. Alyssa Harmon-Salter
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
Alyssa holds an Ed. D. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. For the last 7 years, she has mentored hundreds of college students on how to be successful academically and in prepping for a job.
Full Bio | All Articles | LinkedIn