About this project
A fascinating story about community, leadership, and educational access, REBIRTH: New Orleans follows the incredible transformation of New Orleans’ public school system after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Because you care about education and the future of our schools, teachers and children, you need to know what is happening in New Orleans.
Watch the extended trailer:
ABOUT THE FILM
In 2004, not even one-third of 8th graders in New Orleans could pass a state reading test. In some schools, the number was lower – just 4 percent.
Since then New Orleans public schools have been transformed. Test scores have risen steadily outpacing every other district in Louisiana. Graduation rates are up, dropout rates are down.
How did they do it? When Hurricane Katrina shut down the city and its schools, an unexpected opportunity emerged for the city to start over. The result could change the future of public education in America. Today the city is 80% on its way to becoming the nation’s first all charter school district, perhaps a future model for the nation.
But it hasn’t been easy, no one is declaring victory, and the new system has its critics. We’ve been following the journey since fall of 2005, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit. Embedding ourselves in schools, homes and board meetings, we’ve witnessed mistakes and outright failures but also great accomplishments.
Long-time education journalist and 2012 McGraw Prize recipient John Merrow began following the story for the nightly news program, the NewsHour on PBS, in 2005. Seven years later, he says it is the most remarkable story he has covered in nearly 40 years on the job. With our vast and unique archive of coverage, we knew we had history on our hands, a history that must be widely shared.
REBIRTH: New Orleans weaves stories of students, teachers, parents, education leaders, activists and critics into a human saga of what happened when a city's education system was turned upside down. At a time when public education and school reform are hot-button topics nationwide, this film cuts through the hype to reveal what it takes to make real change.
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
All of the filming and most of the editing for REBIRTH: New Orleans are complete. Thanks to the generosity of New Orleans jazz great Wynton Marsalis, the film has an amazing musical score. We need your support to cover the final costs of finishing the film, which include sound mixing, color correction, animation, graphic design, line editing, and building a website for the film.
Most pressingly, we need money for a grassroots outreach campaign. We envision partnering with people all over the country and the world, to screen REBIRTH: New Orleans and host panel discussions about the lessons learned.
Learning Matters, Inc is a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. All contributions to Learning Matters are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Risks and challenges
The timeliness of finishing REBIRTH: New Orleans is crucial. This story is still unfolding, involving movements and reforms that can dramatically impact our children’s future - which is why it is so important we finish this film now.
Kickstarter fundraising is all or nothing. If we are unable to reach our goal in 30 days, all pledges are returned. But we can do it with your help!
You can spread the word by linking to our Kickstarter campaign on your Facebook page and Twitter feed. Tell others that you support our project. Ask them to do the same.
This is a word-of-mouth campaign, where success relies on people being aware of it.
Once we are funded, some challenges will remain. Cutting the film down to fit broadcast length requirements is one. We are working with a archive footage and mixed formats and aspect ratios (for example 4:3 standard definition video mixed with HD), which can cause delays in color correction and on-line editing. Our graphic animation needs to be finalized in terms of style and design. In this complicated story, facts are important, and we need the right vision to present them graphically. With your support, we will meet these challenges!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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