The 90’s, episode 209: Kids, Schools, And Learning

Episode 209 of the award-winning TV series The 90's. This episode is called "KIDS, SCHOOLS, AND LEARNING" and features the following segments:

01:53Copy video clip URL “Plamondon School” by Kathie Robertson. In the Lawndale neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, principal Guadalupe Hamersma talks about the troubles facing low income urban schools. “It’s a mistake excusing ignorance because of poverty. I really feel that if you have high expectations and find ways to help kids meet those expectations, kids will achieve.” She also feels that these kids should not be concentrated in poor schools but instead should be integrated into schools in wealthier communities. “I feel it’s important for kids have to get out of their neighborhood because the resources are so limited.”

10:07Copy video clip URL “Sebastian & Molly” by Dee Dee Halleck. Two kids sing parodies of children’s songs that have been altered to feature the demise of teachers. Sebastian sings: “On top of the chalkboard, all covered with blood, I shot my poor teacher with a .44 slug…” Molly adds a tune dedicated to her teacher Miss Owens: “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream, throw your teacher off the boat and listen to her scream!”

12:18Copy video clip URL “Apple Juice” by John Bruce. A glimpse at New York City youth skateboard culture.

18:54Copy video clip URL Leon Lederman commentary by Ricki Katz. Lederman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, speaks about the poor state of education in America. “In the ’60s we were making the best cars, the best machines, and then all of a sudden we weren’t anymore. School systems around the world were get ting better than us. Something happened to this country in the late ’60s to do with the Vietnam War. It created a malaise in our students, it created a dropout mentality. I don’t think you can blame it on one thing, but that was a sort of milestone, one from which we have never recovered. Our text books were watered down, we neglected our teachers’ salaries. Right now we’re spending more per capita per year than any other country – $380 billion a year on higher and lower education. We have to turn the education system around, but we have to ‘leverage’ money very carefully in order to fix it.”

21:40Copy video clip URL “Hard Times in Our Country: The Schools” by Anne Johnson/Appalshop. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared an all out war on poverty and promised increased support to schools in rural areas. Today rural Appalachian schools are being forced to close and children are being bussed to urban schools. Rural residents speak of how this is changing their communities. “When schools leave the community, people leave too. Urban governments are telling rural educators how to educate.” Ron Eller comments: “We are creating two-tiered society: one with the skills and opportunities to succeed, and the other with little hope for employment and little control over their lives.”

29:24Copy video clip URL Bill Ayers commentary by Jim Morrissette. Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and former member of the radical group The Weather Underground, speaks about education. “In many ways schools are very effective. They function as large sorting machines, sorting kids out along class, racial and gender lines. We complain but we never fix them. I want them to not train people to fit into hierarchies, I want them to train students to participate fully in a democratic society.”

31:18Copy video clip URL “Harbor College” by Nancy Cain. In Los Angeles, Cain visits a “college” for grade school kids that teaches stock market history, finance and business.

34:50Copy video clip URL Murray Bookchin commentary by Luana Plunkett. Writer / activist Bookchin speaks about the misconceptions people have about education. “Education today is confusing the accumulation of information and data with the pursuit of wisdom. We are not becoming wiser, we are learning a lot of data that has no meaning, no relevance. Education should provoke, should stimulate the student to thinking. What we call education to day is, in my opinion, nonsense!”

36:21Copy video clip URL “Education President” by Gross National Product. This satire pokes fun at President George H.W. Bush, the self-acclaimed “education President.” Bush reads the story of “The Emperor’s New Missile Defense System.”

40:32Copy video clip URL Bill Ayers commentary continued. “Most teachers teach for the right reasons – they’re altruistic, optimistic and they love kids, or they love the world, they love art, mathematics, or music enough that they want to share this with kids. Their motivation is transformation. But they go to colleges of education where they effectively ignore that or beat it out of them. So they become involved in structures which reward obedience, conformity and being a clerk. School systems are becoming enormous bureaucracies toppling under their own weight.”

42:37Copy video clip URL Dr. Dennis Littky commentary by Richard Watrous. Littky, an author and education reformer, speaks about the keys to success in education. “The same characteristics that make a business successful make a school successful. The same traits that make a good leader in business make a good leader in education. I think sometimes people think of a school as this soft place and IBM as this hard place. It all comes down to respect – respect for teachers, respect for students. This does not mean being nice to them, it means giving them the power to be.”

44:13Copy video clip URL “William Wilson” by WTTW. Wilson, a music teacher at Hubbard High School in Chicago, won a Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching. His philosophy: “I never accept the word can’t. I say ‘erase that ‘T”.” His students report on Wilson’s unique teaching style. “He treats everyone like his own child. So we have three parents: mother, father, and Mr. Wilson.”

47:18Copy video clip URL “Public Education: It’s a Bull Market” by Hobart Swan. This tape traces the history of business involvement in education. In April 1990, the California State Assembly made a historic recommendation allowing Channel One, a commercial news station, to broadcast in public school classrooms. If this recommendation becomes law, commercials for candy bars and potato chips will become part of daily curriculum. However, this may not necessarily be a new thing. Public school children have always watched industrial films produced by private companies. In years past, children learned about electricity from electrical companies, ecology from lumber companies, and nutrition from sugar companies.

53:50Copy video clip URL “Gravity” by David Wechter & Michael Nankin. A comedic spoof of educational films that claims scientists have found out that gravity is running out. “We all must do our part to conserve gravity.”

55:54Copy video clip URL More from Leon Lederman. “TV is a tremendous force. It could do a lot of things. The typical scientist is portrayed as a weirdo stroking a cat and talking with an accent. TV owes an obligation both to entertain and to teach. We need he roes in science, we need good role models so kids can say this is not a nerd operation.”

57:05Copy video clip URL End Credits.

58:55Copy video clip URL :30 promo.



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