Hollywood's Reductive Narratives About School

From The Atlantic

By Anne Beatty

"Most teachers I know hate the movie Freedom Writers, in which a Long Beach, California, teacher leverages writing to convert apathetic students into crusaders for justice. Though it had not yet been filmed in 2003, when I was a first-year teacher in South Central Los Angeles, I had absorbed enough teacher-savior narratives to reject their simplicity but internalize their winning idealism. These storylines can infiltrate schools, tainting a teacher’s expectations of both her power and her complicated students—like T, my 10th-grader who toted a pink teddy bear with a safety pin jammed through its ear. Trying to teach T confirmed for me the perils of these simplified narratives."