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$5,028
pledged of $200,000pledged of $200,000 goal
96
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, June 15 2013 12:13 PM UTC +00:00
Mad UniverseBy Mad Universe
First created
Mad UniverseBy Mad Universe
First created
$5,028
pledged of $200,000pledged of $200,000 goal
96
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, June 15 2013 12:13 PM UTC +00:00

About

We've seen the statistics and read the stories. If you're a parent, you live with it every day. Public education is broken. And no one seems to know how to fix it. It wasn't supposed to be like this. The American education system was once the envy of the world. Once. No more.

The School That Never Was documentary will show how education got this way and what we can do to fix it.

Everyone can see there's a problem:

“I think so many of our young people drop out not because school is too hard, but because it’s too easy. They’re not engaged, they’re not challenged.” - Arne Duncan | US Secretary of Education

46 percent of teachers in public schools leave the profession within five years. - USA Today

"Our education system is broken, focused more on the needs of adults and special interests than children.” - Michelle Rhee | Former Chancellor of DC Public Schools

Nearly 80% of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter community college. - CBS New York

But how did things end up here: checked-out students, disillusioned teachers fleeing their profession, a bloated administration on every level from local to federal? How long can our country survive with a broken system? What can we do to fix it? Can it be fixed at all?

Recent documentaries have shown that the system is broken. 

  • Waiting for Superman by Davis Guggenheim demonstrated the heartbreaking tragedy of the lives the system squanders. 
  • The Lottery by Madeleine Sackler recounted the contentious and ultimately ineffectual battle between public and charter schools. 
  • The Cartel by Bob Bowdon chronicled the over-the-top wasteful spending in the New Jersey public education system.
  • The American Teacher showed how educators aren't getting the resources or respect they deserve.

There’s nothing to disagree with here, but isn’t there more going on? 

The School That Never Was will identify and examine the fateful decisions that brought us to the low point we're at today. Then we'll navigate the road not taken to discover the school system that might have been but never was. 

Along the way it is our hope to answer such fundamental questions as:

- What are schools for?
- Who should teach?
- Who should be taught?
- What should they learn?
- Who should administer the schools?
- Who should pay for it?
- What role—if any—should the government have in educating our children?

Whether you have school-age children or not, the answers to these questions profoundly affect us all. The future of our society depends on the answers. And time is running out.

Education in America needs more than simple fixes or even an overhaul. It needs nothing less than a rebirth. Help us spark the revolution. Today.

Everyone who contributes to this project will get to share their perspective and solutions on our website. The most compelling stories and solutions may be chosen for the documentary. 

We have just 60 days to reach our goal of $200,000. Thank you in advance for your support!

Chris Mortensen is an award winning writer, producer, and director who has created more than 100 hours of documentary and reality programming in the last fifteen years. His programs—which have appeared on History Channel, A&E, Discovery, TLC, BET, VH-1, TV-One, Lifetime Network, Fox Sports, ESPN, Travel Channel, Versus, GSN, TNN, and Spike—include the A&E documentary The Unreal Story of Professional Wrestling and numerous episodes of the BET true crime series American Gangster. Most recently he completed a project on the resurgent interest in Ayn Rand’s controversial novel Atlas Shrugged.

Risks and challenges

As with any profession, there are risks and challenges in the process of filmmaking. The producers for "The School That Never Was" are capable and experienced. And the story of this film is demanding to be told. The subject is vital and current.

The biggest challenge is producing the film. We have to schedule interviews, travel across the country to get footage, make sure we've investigated all aspects of our story, and ultimately create a film worthy of the subject. We don't want to rush. Our goal is for the film to be ready for viewing sometime in December 2013. But the production time for DVDs may mean they're not available until 2014. We'll do our best to ship as soon as possible. As with any film project, there may be delays, though, based on interviewee availability or new developments in the story that we can't predict.

Beyond the “normal” challenges our biggest hurdle is getting the film seen by as many people as possible. Since it is an independent production, we don’t have access to the marketing resources of the studio system. Any money raised beyond the minimum goal will go directly into insuring that our film reaches the widest possible audience. We need a budget not only for promotion, advertising, and distribution fees but also to fund a grassroots campaign to place this film in theaters, auditoriums, and living rooms across America.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    A “thank you” tweet from @TheEduDoc and your education story/solution featured on our website.

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    The above reward plus a digital download of the film.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    All of the above plus a signed DVD of the film.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    All of the above plus access to an exclusive webcast of the director and associate producers discussing the film and our education system.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    All of the above plus guaranteed inclusion in our “man-on-the-street” interviews if you’re in one of the cities where we’re filming. [Travel expenses not included. Cities are pre-determined. City list coming soon. Selected segments featured in the film. The rest of the segments will be featured on our website.]

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    All of the above plus exclusive access to a Google+ Hangout (video chat) with the director to discuss the film. [Hangouts limited to 10 people each.]

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    All of the above plus your name will be listed in a special “thank you” section in the credits and a personal phone call from the director thanking you for your generous contribution.

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    Pledge US$ 7,500 or more About US$ 7,500

    Executive producer credit and dinner with the director to discuss the film. Special invitation to the premiere for you and a guest. [Travel expenses not included.]

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Funding period

- (60 days)