Education and Society Film Series

Some of the most pressing issues facing America's educational system will be discussed during the "Education and Society" documentary film series sponsored by the University of Washington College of Education's Master in Education Policy program this fall.

Tom Halverson, director of the MEP program, said the series strives to spark conversation between audience members and local educators, advocates and policymakers who will participate in a panel discussion following each screening. The series is free and open to the public.

“Reforming our education system so that we serve all students well requires the combined efforts of a broad array of stakeholders,” said Halverson. “Through this film series, we want to provide a space where people with diverse perspectives can come together, learn and engage in the open conversation that’s essential to developing solutions.”

Oct. 24 — Race, Culture, Ethnicity, Language and Public Education

Featuring I Learn America

wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ - Intellectual House, 7 p.m.

At the International High School at Lafayette, a Brooklyn public high school dedicated to newly arrived immigrants from all over the world, five teenagers strive to master English, adapt to families they haven’t seen in years, and create a future of their own while coming of age in a new land. This 2013 documentary explores the children of immigration in America and well schools are, or aren’t, helping them determine where they belong in the reality and imagination of their new culture.

Discussants are:

  • Ann Ishimaru, Assistant Professor of Education, UW College of Education
  • Chris Alejano, Director of Education, Technology Access Foundation
  • Greg Garcia, Community Impact Manager, United Way of King County
  • Christina Gonzalez, Board President, Seattle Education Access

Nov. 7 — Homelessness and Public Education

Featuring The Homestretch

Foster High School, Tukwila, 7 p.m.

The Homestretch follows three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate and build a future. Their stories recast stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their education while navigating a landscape of couch hopping, emergency shelters, transitional homes, street families and a school system on the front lines of this crisis. The film examines the struggles these youth face and follows them beyond graduation to explore the crucial transition when the structure of school vanishes and homeless youth struggle to find the support and community they need to survive.

Discussants are:

  • Josephine Ensign, UW School of Nursing and author of Catching Homelessness
  • Jonathan Houston, McKinney-Vento Coordinator, Tukwila Public Schools
  • Ruth Blaw, Director, YouthCare

Dec. 5 — Funding Public Higher Education

Featuring the Northwest premier of Starving the Beast

Kane Hall 120, 7 p.m.

Examine the ongoing power struggle on college campuses across the nation as political and market-oriented forces push to disrupt and reform America’s public universities. The film documents a philosophical shift that seeks to reframe public higher education as a value proposition to be borne by the beneficiary of a college degree rather than as a public good for society.

Discussants to be announced.

The series is supported by Stand for Children, The Seattle Times Education Lab and UW Impact.


Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications