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'Blackboard Wars': Oprah's Education Reality Show Reveals Reform Isn't Always Students-First

On the show and in education reform, students are mere backdrops that fuel exploitative drama.


As an educator in New Orleans, I've been asked dozens of times, "What do you think of Blackboard Wars," the documentary series featured on Oprah's OWN Network about troubled John McDonogh High school.

My first and most enduring reaction to Blackboard Wars is fatigue. I'm simply tired of New Orleans education reform, the spectacle. This is not because the series is not well produced. Without a doubt, Blackboard Wars is gripping television. The show has everything you want in television: an engaging protagonist with a fatal flaw (Principal Dr. Thompson), a damsel in distress (Ms. Cobb), people needing salvation (students), high stakes, community unrest, and love.

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Best Peformance at the Oscars? P.S. 22's Chorus!

The fifth graders from Staten Island closed out the Academy Awards and totally stole the show!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgPGdkZ8ulM

Need a reason to oppose school budget cuts that slash art and music programs? How about last night's Academy Awards performance from Staten Island, New York's P.S. 22 chorus. The inspiring fifth graders closed out the show with a heartwarming rendition of the classic song "Over the Rainbow"—and got a standing ovation from the A-list crowd.

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