What constitutes a “good” school, and for whom? Who is included in the vision of education as the great equalizer, and who is left out? Cinema 53’s “Race and American Schools” series explores the central role that race has played in the experience of schooling in America with a trio of documentaries and discussions. Curated by Eve L. Ewing, assistant professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and author of Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side, the winter series brings together a researcher, a teacher, and a filmmaker to unpack the sordid story of race and education, and imagine the future of American schooling.
Tonight, Ewing hosts a screening of Tested (Curtis Chin, 2015, 90 min), which follows a dozen racially and socio-economically diverse 8th graders as they fight for a seat at one of New York’s top public schools. Their only way in: to ace a single standardized test. Tested includes the voices of education experts Pedro Noguera and Diane Ravitch in an award-winning exploration of access to a high-quality public education, affirmative action, and the model-minority myth. Film followed by conversation with Tested director Curtis Chin.
5238 S Harper Ave, Chicago
Writer/producer/director Curtis Chin has written for ABC, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon, and won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the San Diego Asian American Film Foundation. As a community activist, he co-founded the Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. His first film, Vincent Who? has screened at nearly 400 colleges, NGOs and corporations in four countries. Curtis is currently a Visiting Scholar at NYU.
Dr. Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist of education and a writer from Chicago. She is the author of Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side. She is also author of Electric Arches, which received awards from the American Library Association and the Poetry Society of America and was named one of the year's best books by NPR and the Chicago Tribune. She is the co-author (with Nate Marshall) of the play No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. She also writes the Ironheart series for Marvel Comics. Ewing is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and many other venues.
Cinema 53 is a partnership between the historic Harper Theater in downtown Hyde Park and UChicago’s Gray Center for Arts & Inquiry. The winter series is presented with support from The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.